Relief for Ruby Princess crew cleared to fly home
Almost 50 crew from the disease-stricken Ruby Princess will be taken off the ship today to fly back to their home countries.
The crew will be taken to hotels in Sydney before flying overseas, NSW police deputy commissioner Gary Worboys said.
Deputy Commissioner Worboys said the majority of the 49 crew evacuating the ship were citizens of the UK, USA, New Zealand, and Canada.
"There's also one person from Japan, and a couple of Irish as well," he said.
It is understood NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has been negotiating with various consulates for more than a week and plans are being finalised for repatriating large numbers of crew members. British and Canadian consular officials have been involved in the talks.
Officers from the Marine Area Command, assisted by Transport for NSW, NSW Health and the Australian Defence Force, are disembarking at least 49 crew members from six countries today.
One of the group, who has tested positive for COVID-19, will be quarantined in a NSW Health managed hotel for 14 days before flying home, police said.
No other members of the group being repatriated have tested positive, however on Monday,
19 more crew on the ship tested positive, taking the total number of crew infected to 190.
Police said more crew members will be disembarked from the Ruby Princess over the coming days, however a large number will remain on-board to return with the ship to its port of origin.
Commissioner Mick Fuller said the movement of the first crew contingent today was an important milestone, and "has us one step closer to the Ruby Princess leaving Australian waters".
The repatriation process is part of a multi-agency operation led by NSW Police Force begins.
NSW Police Force has worked closely with Australian Border Force, Australian Federal Police, NSW Health, Aspen Medical, Carnival Cruises and government officials from numerous overseas jurisdictions to ensure the safe movement and eventual return of the crew members to their countries of origin.
Investigations under Strike Force Bast surrounding the docking and disembarking of the Ruby Princess at Sydney Harbour on Thursday 19 March 2020 are continuing.
Originally published as Relief for Ruby Princess crew cleared to fly home