Lawsuit launched against the owners of the coronavirus-riddled Ruby Princess cruise ship after 22 of its passengers died from COVID-19
- The doomed Ruby Princess cruise has been linked to 600 coronavirus cases
- Lawyers have launched a class action against the ship’s owners and operators
- Lawsuit will argue the groups knew about the risks and didn’t protect passengers
Ruby Princess passengers and their families are taking legal action over a deadly coronavirus outbreak on board the ill-fated cruise ship.
Shine Lawyers on Friday announced a class action suit against Carnival Plc and Princess Cruise Lines Ltd over their handling of COVID-19 cases on the ship, which disembarked in Sydney on March 19.
The law firm is seeking compensation through the federal court on behalf of passengers and their families.
The 2,700 passengers were allowed to depart the Ruby Princess despite suspected coronavirus cases on board, with 600 passengers later testing positive.
So far, 22 passengers have died.
A lawsuit has been launched against the owners and operators of the Ruby Princess cruise ship after 22 of its passengers died. (pictured, the ship docked in Sydney Harbour in March)
It comes as a NSW special commission of inquiry examines the circumstances surrounding the cruise.
Vicky Antzoulatos from Shine Lawyers said the class action would allege the defendants breached consumer guarantees, engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and failed in their duty of care to provide a safe cruise.
‘We say the owner and operator knew of the risks that passengers may contract coronavirus before the ship left and they failed to take steps to ensure their passengers were safe and protected,’ Ms Antzoulatos said in a statement on Friday.
Ruby Princess passenger Graeme Lake lost his wife Karla (pictured, together) to coronavirus after returning home from the cruise and said her death ‘broke him’ and his children
‘People on board the ship trusted Carnival to do the right thing but they were not told about the risk of coronavirus and some paid the ultimate price for it.’
Class action group member Graeme Lake’s wife Karla died from coronavirus ten days after returning home from the cruise.
‘It broke me, it broke the kids, and she didn’t deserve it,’ Mr Lake said in the same statement.
‘Karla went on that cruise to celebrate her 75th birthday and what happened to her has destroyed us.’
The lawsuit will argue the owners and operators knew about the risks and failed to protect their passengers (pictured, passengers leaving the ship)
Princess Cruises in a statement on Friday said they had ‘the utmost respect for our guests and understand the worldwide impact of COVID-19 including on some of our guests, crew members and their families’.
‘The NSW special commission of inquiry, in which we are participating, is in the process of establishing the facts in relation to Ruby Princess. It is not our intention to respond to the assertions of class action lawyers,’ the company said.
The special commission of inquiry has concluded and is set to report back by mid-August.
Timeline of Ruby Princess fiasco
March 18: The Ruby Princess issues an urgent mayday call for an ambulance for two of its passengers presenting with coronavirus-like symptoms 24 hours before the ship is allowed to dock in Sydney.
March 19: The Ruby Princess arrives in Sydney Harbour. More than 2,700 guests are allowed to disembark without adequate health checks.
March 25: Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram says New South Wales Health is responsible for letting coronavirus patients disembark the ship.
March 29: Several crew members are evacuated and taken to hospital after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
April 2: A 66-year-old crew member is taken off the Ruby Princess for medical treatment. More than 200 crew members are sick and in self-isolation.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian defends the actions of NSW Health and the Australian Border Force and points the finger at the Ruby Princess. She claims staff onboard may have misled NSW Health about the extent of illnesses in passengers.
April 3: Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton alleges Ruby Princess’ operators weren’t transparent about the health of crew: ‘It was ‘clear that some of the companies have been lying about the health of passengers and crew on board’.
April 4: Leaked emails show NSW Health knew of the coronavirus risk on board the Ruby Princess before allowing its thousands of passengers to disembark.
April 5: A criminal investigation is launched into how passengers were able to disembark without health checks
April 8: A team of 30 detectives from state crime, counter terrorism and marine area command start investigating the handling of the Ruby Princess coronavirus scandal. The first briefing into the investigation is held.
April 9: NSW Police clad in PPE equipment raid the vessel, questioning its captain and searching for evidence in a rapid escalation of the criminal investigation.
April 11: NSW Health confirms that at least 46 crew members of the Ruby Princess cruise ship have contracted COVID-19
April 13: NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says patient zero on board may have been a crew member serving meals to hundreds of passengers
April 15: NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian announces an independent special commission to investigate the Ruby Princess fiasco
April 23: With 500 crew left on board, the Ruby Princess left Australian waters to sail to Manila in the Phillipines