Ruby Princess Advisory
Thank You to the Illawarra Community and Mission to Seafarers As Ruby Princess Prepares to Sail From Port Kembla
Princess Cruises President Jan Swartz today applauded the crew of Ruby Princess for their strength and fortitude and thanked the Illawarra community for supporting the crew while the ship was berthed at Port Kembla.
Ms Swartz said crew members were inspirational in the way they dealt with extremely difficult circumstances while building a powerful bond with the local community.
“The nightly applause ceremony in which the crew clapped all of the people who supported and cared for them during this difficult time was a wonderful expression of goodwill that was reciprocated by the community,” Ms Swartz said.
“So thank you to the crew of Ruby Princess and to the local community for its embrace of the crew with the delivery of care packages and handwritten messages of support from so many people.”
To mark its gratitude to the local community, Princess Cruises is making a contribution of $50,000 to support the outreach to seafarers of the Mission to Seafarers at Port Kembla.
Ms Swartz said the Mission’s support of the Ruby Princess crew was emblematic of the caring spirit of the Illawarra community as a whole and the cruise line was very grateful for their sentiment and support.
“The Illawarra community never lost sight of the fact that this was all about people caught up in difficult circumstances that were not of their making,” she said.
Ms Swartz also thanked operational staff from NSW Health, Australian Border Force, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, NSW Police and Aspen Medical for their professional approach during Ruby Princess’s stay at Port Kembla.
In closing, she said that it had been “heartbreaking and distressing to know that coronavirus has had, and continues to have, such a terrible impact on so many people across the world, including some of our guests, crewmembers and their families. Our hearts and thoughts go out to everyone that has been affected.”
Updated Wednesday, 15 April 2020
Princess Cruises Expresses Deep Sadness Over Coronavirus Impact and Welcomes Inquiries
In response to the NSW Premier’s announcement of a Commission of Inquiry regarding the Ruby Princess, Princess Cruises expressed again its deep sadness over the terrible impact the coronavirus has had across the globe. In addition, Princess confirmed its intention to assist the Commission of Inquiry in its efforts to establish the truth of what happened in relation to Ruby Princess.
“It is heartbreaking and distressing to know that coronavirus has had, and continues to have, such a terrible impact on so many people across the world, including some of our guests, crewmembers and their families. Our hearts and thoughts go out to everyone that has been affected,” said Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises.
Ms Swartz said the world had a common enemy with COVID-19 and it would willingly participate with all three government-instigated inquiries – the Commission of Inquiry, police investigation and coronial inquiry.
“This Commission of Inquiry is an opportunity for all to learn from this tragic event. Princess welcomes the inquiry and appreciates the Premier's statement of an independent inquiry that will leave no stone unturned. There are no doubt important lessons to be learned as we seek to understand how the virus works and continue to adapt to a world with COVID-19,” Ms Swartz said.
“What happened on Ruby Princess reflected what was happening in the world. Even at the time the ship left Sydney, international flights were coming to Australia, the borders were still open and major sporting events were still being played to packed stadiums. This was an unprecedented global situation and everyone involved was no doubt making the best decisions they could at the time.
“We have worked hard to establish strong relations with our guests, travel agents and other stakeholders in Australia. We also have worked closely with the Australian government over a long period of time on many initiatives. We thank them for all the support they have provided to us over the many years we have been building, and investing in, the cruise industry in Australia.
“It is painful for Princess to be in a situation of potential conflict with those we work with and respect. We hope these inquiries will provide a basis for fair, open and positive discussions that will allow us all to learn more about this virus and re-build connections between all of us.”
Ms Swartz acknowledged the US-based cruise line was still working alongside NSW Health, Australian Border Force, the ABF’s contractor Aspen Medical and the NSW Police while Ruby Princess remained at Port Kembla.
“I want to acknowledge the many decent people involved at this operational level who remain committed to the care and wellbeing of our crew, including those who were seriously ill,” she said.
“This will be a difficult period for all involved but we have a shared responsibility, along with all of society, to learn from these events.”
Updated Tuesday, 31 March 2020
Sture Myrmell, President Carnival Australia said today:
Carnival Australia is participating in high level federal and state discussions with the aim of enabling the repatriation of crew currently on board Ruby Princess on compassionate and humanitarian grounds.
Being able to send home those crew members who are not required for the safe operation of the ship is the right thing to do both from a humanitarian point of view and Australia’s international standing as a maritime nation that looks after foreign nationals in its care.
We are particularly concerned that a humanitarian approach should be taken in relation to the crew on Ruby Princess, which has left NSW territorial waters as demanded by the NSW Government.
However, we remain concerned that it is not safe for the ship to sail away from Australia while there are crew members on board who are ill. While illness on board has been reduced due to strong health management, the ship needs to remain within reach of Australia to access healthcare services if an urgent need arises.
Australia has maritime obligations to protect the welfare of seafarers and as such we need to care for foreign nationals as we would expect other nations to care for Australians in similar circumstances abroad.
Repatriation of Ruby Princess’s crew would be an important step in upholding Australia’s reputation as a caring maritime nation.
Updated Friday, 20 March 2020, 3:30PM
SYDNEY, Australia — We are working closely with NSW Health authorities who advised that three guests and a crew member who travelled on Ruby Princess have tested positive for COVID-19.
Please be advised that all four had reported flu-like symptoms during the cruise and, along with their stateroom occupants, were in isolation on board the ship minimising contact with other guests and crew.
We have assisted NSW Health to make contact with all guests who arrived in Sydney yesterday.
We support NSW Health’s call for all guests to follow to the letter the Australian Government’s requirement for 14 days self-isolation and to seek medical advice if they experience flu like symptoms.
If you were onboard Ruby Princess then we ask you to follow NSW Health's request and respond to their email or text message to make direct contact with them.
If, after contacting the NSW Health authorities, you need assistance from Princess Cruises, please call the Guest Assistance Center in your region:
Australia: 1300 551 853 New Zealand: 0800 780 717 USA and Canada: +1-800-774-6237 United Kingdom: 0344 338 8663
Other international guests and other regions: +1 661 284 4902