Shine Lawyers, an Australian firm specialising in compensation cases, has filed a Federal Court class action against the owners of Ruby Princess over the handling of its COVID-19 outbreak.

The firm seeks compensation on behalf of passengers or their families and the estates of those who died.

Misleading conduct

It is alleged that Carnival Corp. & plc and Princess Cruises breached consumer guarantees under Australian consumer law and engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct.

It is also alleged the ship’s operators acted negligently and breached their duty of care to passengers.

Risk to passengers

‘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,’ Shine class actions practice leader Vicky Antzoulatos said.

‘More than 20 people have died, many remain gravely ill and others struggle with the grief of having lost a loved one.’

Class action group member Graeme Lake, whose wife Karla died from coronavirus days after returning home from the cruise, has called on the operators to take responsibility.

Antzoulatos said all 2,700 passengers who travelled in Ruby Princess departing Sydney on March 8 and disembarking March 19 are eligible to join the class action. Executors and administrators of deceased passengers’ estates are also eligible to participate.

More than 800 to date

It is understood that more than 800 people have registered their interest in the class action. Most are from all states and territories of Australia and some are from the United Kingdom and the United States.

For more insight into other coronavirus cases, see Christopher B. Kende’s commentary in the current issue of Seatrade Cruise Review.