Australian authorities have seized a “black box” from the Ruby Princess cruise ship — the country’s deadliest source of coronavirus cases — as part of a criminal investigation.
The cruise liner made headlines after thousands of passengers were allowed to disembark without health checks in Sydney, which was shortly followed by a massive spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.
The embattled ship, which is owned by Carnival Cruises, was linked to 15 fatalities and more than 600 confirmed cases among former passengers, according to public broadcaster ABC.
New South Wales state Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said Thursday that investigators boarded the ship at an industrial port south of Sydney, interviewed the captain and took electronic logs as evidence.
“They spoke to the captain of the ship, who was extremely helpful,” Fuller said in a news conference. “Ships have a black box very similar to that of international planes, and that and other evidence has been seized for further investigation.”
The criminal investigation would probe the communications, actions and other circumstances that led to it docking in Sydney, he said.
There are around 1,000 crew members still on the ship, including about 200 employees who are experiencing flu-like symptoms, ABC reported.
Fuller said that around three-quarters of the remaining crew members want to stay on the vessel, which is docked at Port Kembla.
“They feel safe on the ship, and I think that’s a good outcome,” Fuller told reporters.
Carnival Australia said in a statement Monday that it would “willingly” participate in the probe.
“In addition to willingly participating in the investigation, Carnival Australia will vigorously respond to any allegations of which there must now be full disclosure and the basis for them,” a spokesman said.
Australia has confirmed around 6,000 cases of the virus, accounting for 51 deaths, including those linked to the embattled cruise.
With Post wires
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