on air now

‘A very complicated problem’: Border Force pleads ignorance over Ruby Princess disaster

Article image for ‘A very complicated problem’: Border Force pleads ignorance over Ruby Princess disaster

The Australian Border Force Commissioner has told Ben Fordham his agency used a “standard practice” approach when dealing with the Ruby Princess, denying responsibility for the tragedy.

The death toll from the Ruby Princess has now reached 14 coronavirus casualties.

“It’s a very complicated problem, it’s been a real problem for us,” ABF Commissioner Michael Outram says.

“We aren’t the health or the biosecurity experts in the Border Force Ben, so I don’t want to pretend to know what should or shouldn’t have happened.”

The Ruby Princess remains docked off the coast south of Sydney, with around 200 mildly sick crew members aboard.

Mr Outram says after crew have received the necessary medical attention, the ship will be returned to its country of origin along with other international cruises.

“As at Saturday (4 April) there were 20 vessels in our waters. At this point in time, 13 of those 20 have left or are leaving today.

“A further four will be gone by Thursday.

“That’s 13,500 crew that we’ve got out of Australian waters.”

The ABF Commissioner refused to assign blame to any one party, instead suggesting such matters would be best dealt with in retrospect.

“I think that the whole global pandemic, and how that relates to the issue of the cruise industry, is something that there will be a lot of soul-searching about.”

“From an Australian point of view, [we’ll need to] have a look at our federated border arrangements in the future should such a pandemic occur again, there’s no doubt about that.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

Image: Getty