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  1. 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mistake by Health NSW - not one person responsible as a lot of different things went wrong (including consideration of outdated covid 19 guidelines).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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!)
  4. 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.
  5. 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".
  6. '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."
  7. The ball is now squarely back with Health NSW, after Australian Border Force (ABF) issued a statement yesterday refuting its responsibility - quotes: 'No ABF officer had authority to make biosecurity decisions in relation to the Ruby Princess, including about pratique (i.e. permission to disembark). The ABF responsibility does not include preventing the disembarkation of passengers or crew for human health reasons. Any misinterpretaion by ABF officers of test results did not make a difference as to whether passengers were cleared to disembark the Ruby Princess. Human health is not the responsibility of the ABF'
  8. "Ruby Princess passengers allowed off ship after Border Force mistook negative flu tests for coronavirus results" This is the title of the 'exclusive' ABC news long article, just now on their website (link below) - with the story apparently on 7.30 program tonight. It looks like the reporter just managed to sift thorough the Commission exibits, and in particular the one from Commonwealth with its many attachments. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-30/border-force-ruby-princess-coronavirus-test-bungle/12505072 Short quotes: "A senior Australian Border Force (ABF) officer who allowed 2,700 people to disembark the Ruby Princess cruise ship mistakenly believed passengers displaying "flu-like symptoms" had tested negative to COVID-19, when they had instead tested negative for the common flu. The ABC can reveal that Border Force command only realised the mistake more than 30 hours after passengers — including 13 who had been isolated in their cabins with fever — had left the ship. The new revelations challenge Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram's assertion in March that NSW Health was responsible for allowing passengers to disembark".
  9. 'Europe announces safe cruising return" - see cruiseweekly.com.au last edition of 29 July for the proposed requirements - masks if no social distance possible as well, it seems. Brief quotes: "THE European Maritime Safety Agency and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control have issued joint guidance on the gradual and safe resumption of cruise ship operations in the European Union". "The document outlines minimum measures expected to be implemented across the cruise industry, and applies to all ships calling at European Union and/or European Economic Area ports"
  10. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jul/25/outspoken-nsw-police-chief-mick-fuller-talks-himself-into-another-controversy "Outspoken NSW police chief Mick Fuller talks himself into another controversy" "Supporters love his hardline views, but recent missteps have critics questioning Fuller’s judgment – and closeness to the NSW government":
  11. A SMALL chance that SOME arrangements will have to be made re procedures of dealing with covid cases on board - with possible repatriation home, treatment on shore etc - particularly if the govt requirements mandate greater assumption of responsibility by the cruise lines for sick pax - in order to allow the earlier resumption of cruising.
  12. The Commissioner is very keen to make all of the findings available - he used the redaction to delete personal information in the exhibits which are on the website. The government will have to first digest the inquiry recommendations - and to think about its response - , so it would be interesting to see how long it will take for the report to be made publicly available.
  13. AT LAST!!! - most of the crew home at last "Carnival Cruise Line Completes Crew Repatriation Efforts" https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/carnival-cruise-line-completes-crew-repatriation-efforts
  14. "CMV Becomes the Third Cruise Line To Go Out of Business in a Month" https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/cmv-becomes-the-third-cruise-line-to-go-out-of-business-in-a-month Quote: "In recent weeks there had been growing reports of the financial difficulties faced by the line. In mid-June, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) detained five of the company’s six cruise ships, the Astor, Astoria, Colombus, Vasco da Gama and Marco Polo, at ports in the U.K. CMV's sixth cruise ship, the Magellan, was not detained. According to the MCA, its surveyors found expired and invalid Seafarers Employment Agreements, late payment of wages, and seafarers who had been on board for over 12 months all in breach of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC)".
  15. 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) . 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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