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Everything posted by Cyrix400

  1. Some possibly hopeful precedent for the claimants here, in view the successful Scenic River Cruises case - based on the breach of consumer law - although it will no doubt take a few years to get any money - Scenic went all the way to the High Court.
  2. Australia NOT ready to sail - until............??? The latest cruise ship ban here does not, apparently, have an end date i.e it is not for a specific period, like 3 months or so.
  3. Thank you Kiwi_cruiser - you are very fast!!! A lot comments about the the report will no doubt be made in due course on the related RUBY PRINCESS - THE VERDICT etc thread.
  4. No cruising this year - from the latest cruiseweekly.com.au "P&O Cruises UK has extended its pause until 12 Nov, while also cancelling two long itineraries departing in Jan, while Holland America will not sail until at least 15 Dec"
  5. "RUBY PRINCESS - The Verdict - Report & Recommendations - YOUR COMMENTS" I have started this new thread in anticipation of the release of the Inquiry report - due to the govt on 14 August - and no doubt publicly available some time later. May I suggest that your comments, in due course, about the Inquiry findings & recommendations may be more conveniently made on the new thread. Thanks to everybody who took the time to respond & comment - and for over 16500 views of this thread.
  6. I would not get too excited with the preliminary views of the police and others (widely communicated at the time to the press - and claimed by the Princess to be completely unfounded at the Special Inquiry) - that a criminal offense MAY have been committed. From what we know so far from the Inquiry evidence , it is quite unlikely that a serious adverse finding against Princess would be made (even though things could have been done better by them, in a challenging and constantly changing environment). And no criminal charges are laid by our independent Director of Public Prosecutions before they carefully consider IF the police brief shows a reasonable prospect of conviction on a criminal charge, under the criminal standard of proof i.e. beyond reasonable doubt. Any political considerations are not relevant.
  7. Somewhat surprised to still read this - the crew still stuck on board, the countries are being difficult. A longish article from USA Today - interesting points what the non-working crew does ( or cannot do) whilst waiting. "12,000 crew members still on cruise ships in US waters months after COVID-19 pandemic shut cruising down" https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2020/08/08/cruise-ships-us-have-12000-crew-members-amid-covid-19/5574288002/
  8. As I understand it, the 425 statements of so that were submitted by pax to the police - and NOT to the Inquiry - were obtained from the police by the Inquiry under its Special Powers - but they were kept confidential and NOT published as exhibits (as to not 'prejudice police investigation' - whatever it might be - and most likely a dead end, when the Director of Public Prosecutions gets hold of it. The statements/ submissions to the Inquiry - including when witnesses gave evidence - were published, except when the person sought otherwise. During the closing arguments of the inquiry a senior barrister for Princess was at pains to point out that Princess did what was required of it - and should not be held responsible. He also addressed the issue of the shortage of swabs, and provided evidence of the efforts Princess made to acquire them - form Aust, NZ and USA. Hopefully it won't be too long before the Inquiry verdict and recommendations are revealed - and what needs to be changed/ improved to work better in the future.
  9. Background The NSW opposition has just woken up to the fact that the Commonwealth, which provided a long and comprehensive 'Voluntary Statement' to the Inquiry, felt that it was not constitutionally compelled by the State Inquiry to allow for one of its witnesses (Border Force - Dept of Agriculture) to give evidence. A storm in the teacup, it seems, as the Commissioner did not pursue to challenge the Federal position - and the witness was not that important anyway. (the old mistake about negative flu tests, not covid tests) The longish story is here with these headings - and a few quotes: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/aug/09/ruby-princess-gladys-berejiklian-refuses-calls-to-extend-inquiry-to-hear-from-official-who-refused-to-appear "Ruby Princess: Gladys Berejiklian refuses calls to extend inquiry to hear from official who refused to appear" Shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus says government reneged on promise to ‘provide full cooperation’ at inquiry "On Thursday, the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, claimed the government “had cooperated” because it provided a written submission, and angrily defended the actions of Border Force officers, despite the revelation one gave verbal authorisation for passengers to disembark and mistook negative flu test results for Covid-19 results. In April, Morrison was asked to guarantee the commonwealth would fully cooperate with the NSW government-commissioned inquiry into the Ruby Princess debacle and not take steps to stymie Walker getting evidence from federal agencies". Now, the Australian Border Force does not have a role in relation to clearing people on health grounds. “We do not employ doctors and nurses at airports or at seaports.”
  10. Exactly WHO and exactly WHEN the 'pratique' was granted to Ruby Princess on 19 March is a bit of a mistery - and the Commissioner was trying to get to the bottom of it - including what was the usual formal process involved in granting pratique. It seems that the verbal OK to disembark the ship was given by ABF after their usual non-health checks. This was because ABF saw that the on-line documentation previously supplied by Health NSW staff (in their role as Commonwealth appointed Human Biosecurity Officers) had determined that the ship was a low risk - and that Health was not interested in boarding Ruby Princess. ABF repeatedly emphasised (in the press and otherwise) that they are not qualified to assess health issues, and they always rely the State Human BioSecurity staff to make these decisions.
  11. That is exactly what the Commissioner was indirectly suggesting - to avoid future confusion, clarify responsibilities and improve procedures between the Federal govt and the States. And to add to the confusion - the Human Bio Security Officers are State Health Officers - but appointed as such and trained by the Commonwealth - if this makes any sense- so they wear these two hats.
  12. Yes pretty technical - but here is my attempt to translate this gobblegook: - the press got very excited about a week ago, when they got hold of some documents which show the confusion by the Aust Border Force (ABF)staff when the Ruby Princess was cleared - the headlines screamed of the ABF 'mistake'. This related to the confusion by ABF (No negative tests for covid, only negative tests for the flu done on board for the pax of Ruby) - in light of this, the Commissioner sought further comment/ clarification about it from the Commonwealth The answer came back that from the Commowealth that: 1. Yes, the mistake was made by ABF staff - but 2. it did not make any difference anyway 3- because Health NSW was still responsible to do its job re health of the pax (biosecurity etc) 3. so no skin of the ABF nose - as it was not their responsibility to deal with the health issues. 4. Conclusion - the ball has been bounced back to the State - Health NSW. The Commonwealth (ABF) is in the clear Hope this might make it a a little bit more clear.
  13. Some more 'clarification' about ABF responsibility - in a different context. When about a week ago new media reports surfaced about the role of the Aust Border Force (ABF) in the disembarkation of the Ruby Princess, the Commissioner invited the Commonwealth to respond - and they did so, in a short further supplementary report of 3 August (exhibit 126). In essence - the ABF has NO responsibility for the human bio-security matters (i.e. pax sick or with symptoms). So the ball is passed back to NSW Health. The story in the press that ABF misinterpreted negative tests for flu as being negative tests for covid, was of no practical significance, because: "The Commonwealth accepted in the Statement at [173] that the ABF officer the subject of the reporting appears to have misinterpreted the test results emailed to him by Carnival’s port agent. However, this misinterpretation had no bearing on passengers being permitted to disembark or the granting of pratique ( i.e permission to disembark) as the ABF officer had no biosecurity role to play in those matters and the provision of the information about the test results did not occur until after passengers commenced disembarkation"
  14. Another bad news - covid on a SMALL ship - the third line so far? So how will the big ships manage - or should pax accept a reasonably high risk of covid on any cruise ship? cruiseweekly.com.au "SeaDream COVID "A PASSENGER who sailed aboard SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream I has tested positive for coronavirus upon his return home.The passenger sailed aboard the previous itinerary the cruise ship sailed, but all passengers onboard the current sailing have been confined to their staterooms. SeaDream I is expected to arrive in Bodo soon, where local health authorities are expected to start testing passengers and crew, with no-one allowed to go ashore.The cruise line told passengers it was unaware of anyone else with the virus"
  15. Two very short and interesting supplementary submissions dated 31 July, from Health NSW and Princess on the Inquiry website. The Commissioner wanted to find out if Health NSW considered its responsibility to advise cruise lines to keep up to date with the frequently changing definitions of the covid suspect cases – which are communicated to the Public Health Units by the Communicable Disease Network Australia (CDNA). Health NSW considered that it “has no obligation to inform vessel owners and operatives of the need to ‘keep abreast’ of changes in a document published by a Commonwealth agency and directed to the work of Public Health Units.The National Protocol did not require it and nor should the Commission impose this obligation on NSW Health, retrospectively” “To suggest that in respect of every ‘vessel’ entering NSW Ports, NSW Health had an obligation to update them on changes to Guidelines is both unrealistic, impractical and absolves the ‘vessels’ of responsibility to keep apprised of matters relevant to its industry” And not surprisingly the Princess view is that: “There is no evidence that at any time up to 19 March 2020, any representative of any Australian Government agency (including the CDNA) was urging the community to monitor changes to the CDNA’s recommended testing criteria for the purpose of making judgements about how to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. This is still the case If, contrary to these submissions, the Commissioner is minded to find that the CDNA Guidelines should have been brought to the attention of the officers of the Ruby Princess, then it is submitted that the obligation was on an Australian Government agency to urge the operator to monitor them. Whether that agency was the Department of Agriculture (being the agency with prime responsibility for determining pratique) or NSW Health, is not a matter on which the Princess Parties can presently comment” So, in the rapidly changing setting of the covid world, and with the additional knowledge becoming available almost daily, NO ONE considers it their responsibility to keep the cruise lines operating in Australia up to date with the changing definition of covid suspect cases! Illuminating stuff.
  16. Once the ship obtained from the govt authorities the permission to disembark in Sydney (the formal pratique), neither the ship Capt or the ship doctor could, hypothetically, do anything about it - the horse had bolted by then. Re the 100 or so pax submissions to the Inquiry - add to this some 426 pax statements given originally to the police investigation, and then presented to the Inquiry (not publicly released) - so, quite a high number in total - even if some would be from the same people.
  17. Only for those with great interest (and some time) to scan the public submissions to the Inquiry - the Commission have updated its website https://www.rubyprincessinquiry.nsw.gov.au/submissions/ Submissions received Table 1 - Passengers of the Ruby Princess on the 8 to 19 March 2020 voyage Table 2 - Passengers of the Ruby Princess on the 24 February to 8 March 2020 voyage Table 3 - Passengers of other cruises Table 4 - Public submissions Includes some unrealistic suggestions from the passengers (to be expected) - but also some personal experiences from other cruises (Table 3). In addition some 426 statements from pax, originally made to the police investigation , were previously received but not made publicly available by the Inquiry. Let's see how long it will take for the govt to consider all the Inquiry recommendations, before releasing the report with the government response.
  18. UNFORTUNATE SET BACK FOR SMALL CRUISE LINES? https://www.9news.com.au/world/coronavirus-norwegian-cruise-line-apologises-after-onboard-outbreak/055fc9d9-2797-448a-92fb-471d202dd1ca "A Norwegian cruise ship line halted all trips and apologised for procedural errors after a coronavirus outbreak on one ship infected at least five passengers and 36 crew. Health authorities fear the ship also could have spread the virus to dozens of towns and villages along Norway's western coast. The confirmed virus cases from the MS Roald Amundsen raise new questions about safety on all cruise ships during a pandemic even as the devastated cruise ship industry is pressing to resume sailings after chaotically shutting down in March."
  19. Much more than interviewing only 'the middle grade public servants': The Health NSW expert medical panel consisted of 4 very experienced public health medical people, including 1 professor and 1 associate professor (exhibits 53 & 56). In addition the Commission requested two outside professors/ experts from the University of NSW to independently review and comment on the decisions by Health NSW - the Commissioner asked them a number of specific and detailed questions ( a lot of them of technical nature - exhibit 99). Another professor was asked to do a 'desktop' review - exhibit 98. The Issues for Consideration by all Parties -( interesting Exhibit 116) contained additionally 40 questions - 24 of which were for Health NSW and 9 for Carnival - with the final opportunity given to the parties to respond. It seems that the Commissioner was very thorough in wanting to get to the bottom of HOW and WHY certain decisions had been made and by WHOM - and were these the right decisions in the circumstances. He sought to question the decision makers at all levels - but not those nominally and ultimately responsible ( like the minister and the departmental secretary).
  20. The Commissioner called it a 'serious' group mistake by Health NSW - not one person responsible as a lot of different things went wrong (including consideration of outdated covid 19 guidelines). The Counsel for Health NSW tried to persuade the Commissioner that it was just a 'mistake' - not a serious mistake. I don't think that the Inquiry will buy it. We have to wait for the final report.
  21. And as previously noted on this board, this is the latest article : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/03/two-cruise-ships-hit-by-coronavirus-weeks-after-industry-restarts So it is very 'courageous' decision indeed for any cruise to re-start now - whilst different health protocols being developed by different cruise lines are still not finalised - and CDC and European health guidelines do not seem yet clear. Potential PR implications of an outbreak on a LARGE ship are very serious.
  22. Mr Walker - your first point - that was what the Commissioner originally thought - his comments, as I recall it, were that it was essentially a lame excuse for a large multinational company to claim they could not get swabs - the exact process & efforts how to get swabs was not made clear at that time - Princess final submission addressed it in some details Re comment the parties operating in damage control and protect its employees/ brand - that was the attempt by ALL parties in making final submissions - including Health NSW, by attempts to persuade the Commissioner as to what was to be drawn from the evidence given (again the evidence is the key!)
  23. Re famous SWABS issue - this is a good example why, in light of the detailed evidence which often emerges after the initial questioning (e.g. here supplied by Princess), the Commission can and do sometimes revise its provisional finding - and the initial criticism of a party turns out not to be justified on the evidence. The key to a lot of things is the quality evidence provided - and the weight placed on it.
  24. Final observations: all parties to the inquiry got to have their detailed say (via written submissions) why certain finding should - or should not - be made - and also got the opportunity to say why the Commissioner should not have asked or come to certain conclusions - in light of the evidence given. It is not the intention of Special Commissions to ambush any party, and the Commissioner gives everybody (who was previously given the leave to appear) to have their detailed say, before the final report outlining the Inquiry finding and recommendation is made. The final submissions on the Inquiry site (which I only had a quick look at) are very comprehensive, going to specific point of evidence and extracts from the transcript, to enhance each party's argument in their respective submission. And they are long and technical - NSW Health 67 pages, NSW Port Authority 21 pages, Princess Cruises (Carnival Australia ) 33 pages and the International Transport Workers Federation 46 pages plus attachments. For those really keen to see how Princess defends itself against "Serious and baseless criticism by senior public officials' - (including the Minister and Police Commissioner)- this section starts on p 9-12 of their submission. Princess conclusion is that "Whatever else might be found about the actions of the Princess Parties, it is submitted that the Commissioner should find that Commodore Pomata, Dr von Watzdorf and the port agent personnel (Mr Mifsud, Ms Burrows and Ms Tokovic) acted honestly in all their dealings with government officials on 18 and 19 March 2020".
  25. 'Travel agent refuses to sell cruises that may not sail' https://cruisepassenger.com.au/travel-agent-refuses-to-sell-cruises-that-may-not-sail/ Two interesting quotes: "According to a recent report by USA Today, many cruisers have yet to recoup refunds from cancelled cruises as a result of the CDC’s no-sail order and cruise cancellations. As a result, the US government is about to change the regulations governing refund policies. While many are trying to smooth refund systems as they try and cope with the huge numbers of cancellations forced on them by the pandemic, it’s hard to see how selling more tickets for journeys that may never leave port helps boost the confidence of cruisers that the industry is putting their interests first". And if you want to have your say how the cruises post covid should look, your opportunity is here - until 21 Sept: "Meanwhile, in what is being hailed as a significant move, the CDC has requested anyone, including passengers, make submissions about how cruise lines can make provision for coping with coronavirus. All relevant comments will be posted without change to www.regulations.gov. The CDC has posed 28 questions covering all aspects of operations and policies, including cruise lengths, how many can occupy staterooms and should crew sleep in single cabins. Written comments will be accepted until Sept. 21."
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