Police raid cruise fleet after toilet death
A NUMBER of cruise boats under the same fleet as the vessel where a woman was found slumped in a toilet cubicle at the weekend have been raided by police and marine safety inspectors.
On Saturday, mother-of-two Shalina Hussein collapsed aboard the All Occasion Cruise vessel Lady Rose during a four-hour birthday celebration on Sydney Harbour.
Emergency services were called to a marina in Balmain just after 4pm on Saturday after the 39-year-old was found unconscious in the bathroom cubicle of the three-level vessel.
She was treated by paramedics but was unable to be revived.
Australia's maritime safety regulator has launched an investigation into the woman's death, examining possible breaches of national laws as possible cause.
According to Fairfax, investigators raided five boats that were part of the All Occasion Cruise fleet, making particular focus on "sewage disposal" and the gas meter on each vessel.
The investigation reportedly took place at Blackwattle Bay Marine on Tuesday morning, where Roads and Maritime Services compliance officers, police from Marine Area Command and marine safety inspectors from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, conducted tests of sewerage tanks and gas meters.
In a statement to news.com.au, a spokesperson for the Roads and Maritime Services confirmed they'd carried out significant tests on five All Occasion Cruise vessels.
"Roads and Maritime Services Maritime Compliance Officers, with support from Marine Area Command and AMSA Marine Safety Inspectors, yesterday carried out an environmental pollution and safety compliance campaign on commercial charter vessels at Blackwattle Bay Marina," the statement read.
"These inspections were carried out under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act, 1997 and included checks of sewage disposal.
"NSW Police is leading the investigation and it would be inappropriate for Roads and Maritime to provide further comment while the investigation is under way."
The Sydney Morning Herald on Monday reported that hazardous material teams recorded "extremely hazardous" levels of hydrogen sulphate in the toilet cubicle, however police and Fire and Rescue NSW were unable to confirm.
Following the death of the Berowra woman, Australian Maritime Safety Authority boarded the vessel on Monday to investigate whether there had been any breaches of commercial vessel regulations under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessels) National Law Act 2012.
In a statement, police said the death was not believed to be suspicious or drug related, with a spokeswoman saying passengers on the boat reported a "strange smell" on the vessel.
"Investigators were advised that several gas detection tests were conducted in a bathroom area of the vessel and were found to be in excess of safe operating levels," the statement read.
Hydrogen sulphide has an offensive rotten egg smell and is linked to three deaths on cruiser in the US in 2005 and a NSW paper mill last year.
The owners of All Occasion Cruises, Joe and Rosie Elias told the Herald in a statement:
"Our priority … is to help with the investigators to provide them with all the information they need. We do not believe it is at all appropriate to speculate. There is an ongoing investigation."
The Lady Rose boat is licensed to carry 475 passengers, and had been chartered on Saturday for a four hour birthday party.
A report on the death is being prepared for the coroner.