PLANS for COVID-19 afflicted cruise ship Ruby Princess to leave Port Kembla over the weekend were delayed.

Media reports suggested the crew was too sick to travel.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller had earlier said they were aiming to have the ship leave Australia by Sunday 19 April, prompting a backlash from some in the maritime community who feared for the crew’s safety.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys later said the cruise ship, with more than 1000 crew on board, was restocked, refuelled and ready to depart for Manila.


NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant told reporters that they were gauging the crew’s health.

“At the moment we’ve been doing extensive testing on the ship…to give us a very comprehensive idea of the ship to inform the decision around the departure,” Ms Chant said.

The decision to delay the ship’s departure was welcomed by those in the maritime community who had raised the crew’s health publicly.

Ruby Princess became the focus of a media firestorm after passengers carrying COVID-19 were allowed to disembark, unwittingly spreading the virus in the community.