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Ruby Princess - Special Inquiry - Evidence To Date


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20 minutes ago, christodan said:

Just watched it online. The good news is Ms Temple and her mother say they will never cruise again. I am so grateful knowing I will never run into the likes of them on a ship.

That's very good news indeed. 

 

Was she asked what precautions she took when she came down with her so-called cold?

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Posted (edited)

Oh damn! I made the mistake of watching that beat-up on FB.  Now I'm angry. I posted a little rant in reply to some guy but I'm still angry. Look, I do feel sorry for those people in some ways, especially the guy who lost his wife to the virus, but the way they claim Princess was just in it for the money is ridiculous. Of course Princess needs to make a reasonable profit from their cruises, otherwise they wouldn't be in business long, but they give exceptional value for what you pay and, unlike some cruise lines, there is no pressure to pay for extras. I just wish I could find some land based resort that could match cruise pricing and inclusions, but anything decent is double the cost for just a room with most meals extra.

Edited by OzKiwiJJ
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On 7/22/2020 at 5:55 PM, boeckli said:

Just saw the trailer for tonight's "A Current Affair" (Channel 9)

More Ruby bashing coming up - passengers banding together for justice it seems

 

On 7/19/2020 at 9:51 AM, OzKiwiJJ said:

..... But death is not the only serious consequence of Covid-19. Some people will have health issues for the rest of their life due to the virus - damage to heart, kidneys, liver, brain. Indeed their lives may be shortened considerably by being infected by the virus but when they do die earlier than they probably would have their death won't attributed to the virus. 

 

.

 

And here  is a thought:

In light what was known about covid by March 2020, did Princess had a least moral duty to let the passengers know about possible/ suspected cases of covid on board -  in view of the symptoms which may be consistent with covid. Should Princess  give to those  pax with other health issues at least a chance to modify their behaviour (e.g. getting room service, minimise social mingling etc)?  The Commissioner Bret Walker thought so.

 

On a more serious note, it looks like Shine Lawyers class action on behalf of 600 or so pax will be asking the court whether Princess had a duty of care  (higher legal standard) to give pax certain information during the cruise. Of course it is up to the court, considering carefully all evidence given  - but the litigation founders (paying for court case upfront) usually like to have at least 50 % chance of success before they part with their money (and risk  very large costs if they lose).  We will  find the answer to this probably in a couple of years.

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I think that if the cruise went ahead before a pandemic was declared by WHO, then nobody can sue anybody. I mean why should only cruise ships be just sued? Why can't  the people who went to the Opera House and got it from Tom Hanks and his wife sue the Opera House ? If the cruise ships were following health advice at the time (looking at you NSW Health), I can't see how they are liable for anything. 

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6 minutes ago, christodan said:

I think that if the cruise went ahead before a pandemic was declared by WHO, then nobody can sue anybody. I mean why should only cruise ships be just sued? Why can't  the people who went to the Opera House and got it from Tom Hanks and his wife sue the Opera House ? If the cruise ships were following health advice at the time (looking at you NSW Health), I can't see how they are liable for anything. 

 

Good point - BUT:

1. Princess had prior experience with Diamond Princess re  development of illness on board & covid

2. Cruise ship is a know environment where different types of coronavirus and Noro viruses spread rapidly ( a petri dish, in the opinion of some)

3. Suspected Covid 19 cases in an close ship environment  for a number of days is a recipe for disaster

4. A significant number of people on Ruby were getting sick with respiratory type illness - which was not a flu (after testing for that on the ship) - ship Dr should have known that this MAY be consistent with  covid 19  symptoms - for which no test could be done on board .

5. The cruise company knew that Australia banned the cruising -because of covid -  and that is why the cruise was cut short

6. And the potential PR disaster (subsequently realised)  in not being frank with pax - notwithstanding the consequences ('a moral duty')

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1 hour ago, Cyrix400 said:

 

 

And here  is a thought:

In light what was known about covid by March 2020, did Princess had a least moral duty to let the passengers know about possible/ suspected cases of covid on board -  in view of the symptoms which may be consistent with covid. Should Princess  give to those  pax with other health issues at least a chance to modify their behaviour (e.g. getting room service, minimise social mingling etc)?  The Commissioner Bret Walker thought so.

 

On a more serious note, it looks like Shine Lawyers class action on behalf of 600 or so pax will be asking the court whether Princess had a duty of care  (higher legal standard) to give pax certain information during the cruise. Of course it is up to the court, considering carefully all evidence given  - but the litigation founders (paying for court case upfront) usually like to have at least 50 % chance of success before they part with their money (and risk  very large costs if they lose).  We will  find the answer to this probably in a couple of years.

 

Wouldn't telling the passengers on the Ruby..as they were heading back to Sydney..that a ..suspected/maybe ..case of covid was on board..even though they had no testing to prove it..caused panic.  Can you imagine 2800 passengers afraid that things were even worse than being told and the ship was now a death trap. Chaos!!  Not sure there is a totally right or wrong answer here.

I can imagine what pandemonium would have ensued.  Passengers insisting to get off..now.  Or maybe be told who and what cabin was infected. I'm sure the transplant lady would have been really calm..lol  By saying nothing because there was no actual proof, did they keep the ship "controlled".  

If they told passengers that maybe there was possible case and when they got back there actually was none..just like the cruise before..would passengers have cause to sue for undue stress caused by speculation.  Almost a lose lose situation.

Perhaps not having the night time "parties" in the atrium been a good thing..or cancel the entertainment in the theater..but would this have drawn suspicion?

Actually the time to cancel the cruise should have been March 8th before it sailed..especially after so many passengers on the prior sailing were sick with respiratory illness and really how many of them actually had covid and went home. Only a hand full were tested to begin with.

 

 

 

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41 minutes ago, Cyrix400 said:

 

Good point - BUT:

1. Princess had prior experience with Diamond Princess re  development of illness on board & covid

2. Cruise ship is a know environment where different types of coronavirus and Noro viruses spread rapidly ( a petri dish, in the opinion of some)

3. Suspected Covid 19 cases in an close ship environment  for a number of days is a recipe for disaster

4. A significant number of people on Ruby were getting sick with respiratory type illness - which was not a flu (after testing for that on the ship) - ship Dr should have known that this MAY be consistent with  covid 19  symptoms - for which no test could be done on board .

5. The cruise company knew that Australia banned the cruising -because of covid -  and that is why the cruise was cut short

6. And the potential PR disaster (subsequently realised)  in not being frank with pax - notwithstanding the consequences ('a moral duty')

A couple of points - Anyone who claimed that they were not aware of coronavirus at the time of the Ruby Princess cruise in question, would had to have been living under the proverbial rock. However, we were on a cruise from 23rd Feb to 8th March and did not feel we were at risk because there was no coronavirus active in the community in either Aust or NZ. We did not take into account the fact that there would be a large number of people from USA and also from the UK where the virus was active (although we did not know how active it was at the time).

 

I agree with BRANDEE's comments that telling the passengers there could be cases of COVID on board would have caused panic. Other cruises were on the seas at the time with no COVID so it was not a 'given' that the virus was on the Ruby. Evidence was given that passengers who had respiratory symptoms were confined to their cabins. However, it is likely they had already passed the virus on to others in the enclosed conditions on a ship.

 

I object to the comment that the NSW Health rep made after having hearing it in the media (and this has been repeated many times) that the cruise was 'cut short because Australia banned cruising'. NO, NO, NO. Australia did not ban Australian-based ships from returning. The reason the cruise was cut short was because Princess called a pause to their cruising. They announce that cruises that could be completed within five days would continue to the end of their itinerary, but cruises that were longer than that, would end the cruise at a place and time that suited operational reasons. For instance, the Sea Princess was on an around Aust itinerary, having left Brisbane on 8th March. From memory, they had called into Sydney and Tas ports and possibly Melb before turning back to Sydney where their cruise was due to end. BTW, there have been no reports of COVID on board.

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On 7/19/2020 at 2:35 PM, Vader1111 said:

Nobody that we know of, noting the lack of overseas contact tracing (as pointed out by christodan), died as a result of catching the disease from a disembarked passenger.

Community transmission is what it’s called and what is currently happening in Victoria in ever increasing waves 😳 and didn’t occur with Ruby.

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It is hard to disagree with points made above by Brandee and Aust Traveller re likely panic if the announcement made on board re possible covid pax.

 

It is also interesting to note that a disaster communication specialist ,writing for cruise industry  executives, thinks that  more honest communication, (including listening seriously to criticism and engaging with the critics) is essential for cruise lines to survive in post covid world. See informative article:

https://www.maritime-executive.com/editorials/oped-what-it-will-take-for-the-cruise-industry-to-survive

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52 minutes ago, Aus Traveller said:

A couple of points - Anyone who claimed that they were not aware of coronavirus at the time of the Ruby Princess cruise in question, would had to have been living under the proverbial rock. However, we were on a cruise from 23rd Feb to 8th March and did not feel we were at risk because there was no coronavirus active in the community in either Aust or NZ. We did not take into account the fact that there would be a large number of people from USA and also from the UK where the virus was active (although we did not know how active it was at the time).

 

I agree with BRANDEE's comments that telling the passengers there could be cases of COVID on board would have caused panic. Other cruises were on the seas at the time with no COVID so it was not a 'given' that the virus was on the Ruby. Evidence was given that passengers who had respiratory symptoms were confined to their cabins. However, it is likely they had already passed the virus on to others in the enclosed conditions on a ship.

 

I object to the comment that the NSW Health rep made after having hearing it in the media (and this has been repeated many times) that the cruise was 'cut short because Australia banned cruising'. NO, NO, NO. Australia did not ban Australian-based ships from returning. The reason the cruise was cut short was because Princess called a pause to their cruising. They announce that cruises that could be completed within five days would continue to the end of their itinerary, but cruises that were longer than that, would end the cruise at a place and time that suited operational reasons. For instance, the Sea Princess was on an around Aust itinerary, having left Brisbane on 8th March. From memory, they had called into Sydney and Tas ports and possibly Melb before turning back to Sydney where their cruise was due to end. BTW, there have been no reports of COVID on board.

The passengers on the Ruby were actually told that the cruise was being cut short and the ship was turning around because Australian government was closing their ports.  "On March 15, the Australian Government announced a full restriction on arrivals of any cruise ship that has left a foreign port," according to a flyer sent to passengers from the Australian Border Force.

After the initial announcement that the Princess was suspending sailings on Mar 11th and giving all Princess ships five days to return..the passengers on the Ruby were told on the 12th that permission to continue the cruise to the end Mar 21 was granted by the head office of Princess.

The ship turned around after the announcement by the Australian government.

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6 minutes ago, Cyrix400 said:

It is hard to disagree with points made above by Brandee and Aust Traveller re likely panic if the announcement made on board re possible covid pax.

 

It is also interesting to note that a disaster communication specialist ,writing for cruise industry  executives, thinks that  more honest communication, (including listening seriously to criticism and engaging with the critics) is essential for cruise lines to survive in post covid world. See informative article:

https://www.maritime-executive.com/editorials/oped-what-it-will-take-for-the-cruise-industry-to-survive

There was a hint of panic in the air the day and night before the Ruby returned to Sydney.  It was a major concern of many passengers of the "danger" of getting off the ship and into the world of Covid. There was total confidence the the ship was clean.  Everyone was talking about NSW Health coming on board in the morning and getting home to loved ones. Watching the news on board concerned everyone regarding their family at home..Not themselves!

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10 minutes ago, BRANDEE said:

The passengers on the Ruby were actually told that the cruise was being cut short and the ship was turning around because Australian government was closing their ports.  "On March 15, the Australian Government announced a full restriction on arrivals of any cruise ship that has left a foreign port," according to a flyer sent to passengers from the Australian Border Force.

After the initial announcement that the Princess was suspending sailings on Mar 11th and giving all Princess ships five days to return..the passengers on the Ruby were told on the 12th that permission to continue the cruise to the end Mar 21 was granted by the head office of Princess.

The ship turned around after the announcement by the Australian government.

The cutting short your NZ cruise could have been either as a result of the Aust gov't announcement, or after the directive from Princess HQ, or both. I can see that it would have suited Princess from a PR perspective, to tell the passengers that they had no choice but to cut the cruise short, rather than that Princess was choosing to cut it short. Here is the relevant part of the government announcement

To help stay ahead of the curve, the Australian Government has imposed a universal precautionary self-isolation requirement on all international arrivals, effective as at 11:59pm Sunday 15 March 2020.

This means that all people - whether they be citizens, residents or visitors - will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Australia. Enhanced screening for arrivals will remain in place to identify anyone arriving sick or with symptoms of COVID-19.

Arrangements will be made for passengers transiting through Australia to the Pacific Island countries or transiting after arriving off of cruise ships. Limited exemptions will apply for flight crews, who will be expected to monitor their health and practice social distancing while they are in Australia.

The Australian Government has also banned cruise ships from foreign ports (including round trip international cruises originating in Australia) from arriving at Australian ports for an initial 30 days, effective as at 11:59pm Sunday 15 March 2020.

This restriction will help avoid the risk of a cruise ship arriving with a mass outbreak of the virus and putting significant pressure on our health system.

Arrangements will be made for certain cruise ships already in transit to enable Australian citizens and permanent residents to get off those ships.

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Re class action against Ruby - not sure what to make of this -re breach of Aust consumer law- no details, but  Scenic Cruises lost the case (after going all the way to the High Court) but not cancelling the cruise when there were high water levels during Europe floods a few years ago.   A precedent ?

Scroll down the link to 8.12 am

 

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2020/jul/24/coronavirus-live-update-australia-national-cabinet-scott-morrison-jobseeker-victoria-nsw-queensland-face-masks-hotspots-covid-19-latest-news?page=with:block-5f1a097f8f08b5ab6db77d8b#block-5f1a097f8f08b5ab6db77d8b

 

"Ruby Princess passengers file class action against cruise line

Passengers of the fateful Ruby Princess cruise ship voyage and families of those who died after contracting Covid-19 on board have filed a class action against the operators.

The class action is being run by Shine Lawyers. Class actions practice leader, Vicky Antzoulatos said it was alleged that Carnival and Princess Cruise Lines broke Australian consumer law by breaching consumer guarantees and by engaging in conduct that was misleading and deceptive. The legal action will also allege that operators of the Ruby Princess were negligent and failed in their duty of care to provide passengers with a safe cruise.

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1 hour ago, Porky55 said:

Community transmission is what it’s called and what is currently happening in Victoria in ever increasing waves 😳 and didn’t occur with Ruby.

 

Then how can you explain all the infections? They didnt all bring it onboard with them.

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3 minutes ago, Cyrix400 said:

Re class action against Ruby - not sure what to make of this -re breach of Aust consumer law- no details, but  Scenic Cruises lost the case (after going all the way to the High Court) but not cancelling the cruise when there were high water levels during Europe floods a few years ago.   A precedent ?

Scroll down the link to 8.12 am

 

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2020/jul/24/coronavirus-live-update-australia-national-cabinet-scott-morrison-jobseeker-victoria-nsw-queensland-face-masks-hotspots-covid-19-latest-news?page=with:block-5f1a097f8f08b5ab6db77d8b#block-5f1a097f8f08b5ab6db77d8b

 

"Ruby Princess passengers file class action against cruise line

Passengers of the fateful Ruby Princess cruise ship voyage and families of those who died after contracting Covid-19 on board have filed a class action against the operators.

The class action is being run by Shine Lawyers. Class actions practice leader, Vicky Antzoulatos said it was alleged that Carnival and Princess Cruise Lines broke Australian consumer law by breaching consumer guarantees and by engaging in conduct that was misleading and deceptive. The legal action will also allege that operators of the Ruby Princess were negligent and failed in their duty of care to provide passengers with a safe cruise.

Why isn't Shine lawyers also suing NSWHealth?

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11 minutes ago, Aus Traveller said:

The cutting short your NZ cruise could have been either as a result of the Aust gov't announcement, or after the directive from Princess HQ, or both. I can see that it would have suited Princess from a PR perspective, to tell the passengers that they had no choice but to cut the cruise short, rather than that Princess was choosing to cut it short. Here is the relevant part of the government announcement

To help stay ahead of the curve, the Australian Government has imposed a universal precautionary self-isolation requirement on all international arrivals, effective as at 11:59pm Sunday 15 March 2020.

This means that all people - whether they be citizens, residents or visitors - will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Australia. Enhanced screening for arrivals will remain in place to identify anyone arriving sick or with symptoms of COVID-19.

Arrangements will be made for passengers transiting through Australia to the Pacific Island countries or transiting after arriving off of cruise ships. Limited exemptions will apply for flight crews, who will be expected to monitor their health and practice social distancing while they are in Australia.

The Australian Government has also banned cruise ships from foreign ports (including round trip international cruises originating in Australia) from arriving at Australian ports for an initial 30 days, effective as at 11:59pm Sunday 15 March 2020.

This restriction will help avoid the risk of a cruise ship arriving with a mass outbreak of the virus and putting significant pressure on our health system.

Arrangements will be made for certain cruise ships already in transit to enable Australian citizens and permanent residents to get off those ships.

The notice regarding returning to Sydney asap was on Australian Border Force letterhead. It is that same flyer that told Australian passengers they only needed to isolate for 10 days more and told international passengers to go home to isolate.  We received so many flyers..I still have 3 from Princess, 3 from Border Force and 3 from Department of Health. So much of what was printed by both the Border Force and Department of Health contradicted each other.

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21 minutes ago, Cyrix400 said:

Re class action against Ruby - not sure what to make of this -re breach of Aust consumer law- no details, but  Scenic Cruises lost the case (after going all the way to the High Court) but not cancelling the cruise when there were high water levels during Europe floods a few years ago.   A precedent ?

Scroll down the link to 8.12 am

 

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2020/jul/24/coronavirus-live-update-australia-national-cabinet-scott-morrison-jobseeker-victoria-nsw-queensland-face-masks-hotspots-covid-19-latest-news?page=with:block-5f1a097f8f08b5ab6db77d8b#block-5f1a097f8f08b5ab6db77d8b

 

"Ruby Princess passengers file class action against cruise line

Passengers of the fateful Ruby Princess cruise ship voyage and families of those who died after contracting Covid-19 on board have filed a class action against the operators.

The class action is being run by Shine Lawyers. Class actions practice leader, Vicky Antzoulatos said it was alleged that Carnival and Princess Cruise Lines broke Australian consumer law by breaching consumer guarantees and by engaging in conduct that was misleading and deceptive. The legal action will also allege that operators of the Ruby Princess were negligent and failed in their duty of care to provide passengers with a safe cruise.

 

Quite different situations. With Scenic the complaint was that they didn't get what they bought, and weren't allowed a refund as a result. i.e. they bought a cruise, but were given a cruise with bus/hotel sectors.

 

Here, they got what they bought... seems even more tenuous.

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19 minutes ago, BRANDEE said:

Why isn't Shine lawyers also suing NSWHealth?

 

You can't sue the government (in general) and the case here is under consumer law against what was sold, so NSW Health isn't a party to that.

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14 minutes ago, The_Big_M said:

 

You can't sue the government (in general) and the case here is under consumer law against what was sold, so NSW Health isn't a party to that.

If you can not sue the government..what kind of result is expected from the Special Commission Inquiry?  How is anyone held responsible for not doing their job?  Is there an expectation of firing?  In the US you can sue the government but..will grow old before a decision is made!!

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24 minutes ago, BRANDEE said:

what kind of result is expected from the Special Commission Inquiry?

It's so the gov can learn from the experience and not do the same thing again next time there is a pandemic. So they'll make recommendations. And yeah, sorry about the deaths but it won't happen next time.

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28 minutes ago, christodan said:

It's so the gov can learn from the experience and not do the same thing again next time there is a pandemic. So they'll make recommendations. And yeah, sorry about the deaths but it won't happen next time.

Wow..so no consequences for their actions! A slap on the wrist..Disappointing!

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1 hour ago, The_Big_M said:

 

You can't sue the government (in general) and the case here is under consumer law against what was sold, so NSW Health isn't a party to that.

I don't think you are correct in saying the Australian Government cannot be sued. A group of cattle farmers sued the Federal Government for $600 million in compensation after live exports to Indonesia were banned by the Gillard administration in June 2011and won. Reported two days ago after Federal Court ruling.

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The following was also reported yesterday.

 

Australian Government sued by 23-year-old Melbourne student over financial risks of climate change

 

The world-first case alleges the Government failed in its duty to disclose climate change's impact on the value of government bonds

 

The case is being led by a 23-year-old student and investor who says she did it to "protect her future"

 

Experts say it could open the floodgates for other litigation by tying climate change to real-world financial risk. Source ABC

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3 hours ago, The_Big_M said:

 

You can't sue the government (in general) and the case here is under consumer law against what was sold, so NSW Health isn't a party to that.

 

And a precedent of likely success, in light of the Scenic Cruises case   - in view of the lawyers and the litigation founders, at least.

In right circumstances the govt was successfully sued or agreement reached - over $600 mil still to be refunded by the bungled robo debt scandal (debts against social security recipients raised by computer and based on averaging income held to be not valid) .

 

2 hours ago, BRANDEE said:

If you can not sue the government..what kind of result is expected from the Special Commission Inquiry?  How is anyone held responsible for not doing their job?  Is there an expectation of firing?  In the US you can sue the government but..will grow old before a decision is made!!

 

2 hours ago, christodan said:

It's so the gov can learn from the experience and not do the same thing again next time there is a pandemic. So they'll make recommendations. And yeah, sorry about the deaths but it won't happen next time.

 

What the Special Inquiry has shown to date is how to avoid future 'group mistake' of NSW Health, the uncoordinated approach and confusion between govt agencies as to who does what,  -  and  how to ensure better preparation/ procedures/ dealing with outbreaks and emergencies  by cruise ship companies operating in Australia, when the next health problem occurs in the post covid world. 

Not long before full recommendation of the Inquiry revealed (14 Aug to the govt).

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1 hour ago, Cyrix400 said:

Not long before full recommendation of the Inquiry revealed (14 Aug to the govt).

Do they have to release the full recommendations to the Public, or will certain parts be redacted? 🤔

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