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Criminal Investigation Launched into Coronavirus Outbreak Aboard Ruby Princess

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on April 28, 2020

After months of fighting the novel coronavirus, most cruise ships in the industry have finally reached their final destinations all over the world. One vessel in particular, the Ruby Princess, has been docked in Australia since March after it was stricken by this deadly disease, with most of its staff remaining in mandatory quarantine until just a few days ago. And although many passengers have recently spoken with news outlets alleging that major cruise lines mishandled the COVID-19 outbreak, hundreds of crew members and workers have been seriously overlooked – including those aboard the Ruby Princess.

Operated by Princess Cruises and owned by Carnival Corporation & plc., the Ruby Princess is a twelve-year-old “crown-class” cruise ship originally based in Los Angeles for intended excursions to the Mexican Riviera and Hawaii, including many beautiful pit stops along California’s beautiful coastline. In late 2019, it was relocated to Sydney, Australia and within a few short months would be making international headlines as the center for one of the world’s largest coronavirus outbreaks aboard a cruise ship to date.

On March 8th, 2020, the Ruby Princess departed from Sydney for a two-week voyage around New Zealand, with scheduled onshore excursions at popular ports-of-call including Fiordland National Park, Wellington, Napier, Auckland, and many others. In what was meant to be the vacation of a lifetime for numerous travelers was quickly cut short after the COVID-19 pandemic began its sweeping devastation across the cruise ship industry. By March 15th, only seven days after they had set sail, the Ruby Princess was ordered to return back home to New South Wales. Unfortunately, multiple passengers and crew members were already exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus.

Over 2,700 passengers were allowed to disembark the Ruby Princess on March 19th without any type of COVID-19 safety procedures or precautions, with most of them catching commercial flights and returning home to nations across the globe. Cruise ship personnel and workers essential to the ship’s operation remained onboard, which is a typical, standard procedure usually reserved for restocking and revamping the vessel for its next voyage. Unbeknownst to them, this is the place that they would be calling home for the next fourteen days.

At the time of this writing, 18 crew members have tested positive for COVID-19 plus 10 fatalities, with over 660 cases reportedly linked back to the Ruby Princess. Australian authorities have started an official criminal investigation into this case alleging that the cruise ship potentially violated national biohazard laws, ultimately putting an incredible amount of lives at risk for exposure to the coronavirus.


James O. Cunningham

James O. CunninghamSince 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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