THE Australian Cruise Association has issued a statement on the report into the Ruby Princess disaster, acknowledging the completion of the Special Commission of Inquiry last week.
As reported in Daily Cargo News, the report prompted an apology from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for the failures of NSW Health that allowed COVID-19 cases to be spread in the community.
A class action also has been launched by Shine Lawyers on behalf of “passengers, their families, and the estates of those who tragically died”.
In their statement, the ACA noted the findings of Bret Walker SC “upheld the integrity and professionalism” of the Princess Cruises team here in Australia.
“This document will also inform the ongoing discussions and planning being undertaken by the cruise sector in conjunction with the Australian government and individual state governments and their agencies around the safe and responsible re-start of cruising in our country,” ACA stated.
“Cruise tourism plays an important role in the Australian economy contributing much needed financial support to our large city gateways and smaller regional destinations.”
ACA said more than 18,000 Australians relied on their sector for a job and the industry contributed $5.2bn in economic output.
“It is vital that we find a way to re-start cruising in this country while also most importantly, ensuring the safety of the destinations, the passengers, and the crew,” the ACA stated.
“In order to support that goal, the Australian Cruise Association has been working closely with like-minded organisations in Europe, New Zealand, the US and closer to home – Cruise Lines International Association Australasia to observe the development of country specific health and hygiene protocols, and their plans to welcome cruise ships back to our waters.”
According to ACA, cruising would follow a staged plan and may not look like it did previously.
“But we look forward to exploring all the options being considered including the introduction of state by state cruising with domestic guests through to a mix of sea and land-based packages that have robust and effective health and safety protocols,” it stated.