Federal police officers should be present on cruise ships and all travellers should be screened for drugs before boarding, a coroner investigating the death of passenger Dianne Brimble says.
A raft of recommendations were made by NSW Coroner Jacqueline Milledge on Friday, including those for the cruise ship industry, bringing to an end the resumed inquest into Ms Brimble’s death.
The 42-year-old died on board a South Pacific P&O cruise ship in September 2002 after consuming a toxic mix of the drug fantasy and alcohol.
On Tuesday Ms Milledge found the mother-of-three was “unknowingly drugged by unscrupulous individuals”.
The presence of police on board cruise ships would allow a more prompt investigation of matters at sea, Ms Milledge said.
“It would not be intended that their presence be intrusive, but they would be reactive to crime reporting and could ensure a timely investigation,” she said when delivering her recommendations at Sydney’s Waverley Local Court on Friday.
“They would also have significant impact on crime prevention.”
The coroner also recommended the creation of a federal coroner for what she labelled “mega inquests” including investigations into matters such as the Bali Bombings, the shooting of Private Jake Kovco and the Balibo Five killings.
“There is a real and pressing need for these `mega inquests’ to be undertaken by a federal coroner who would have the investigative and administrative resources that are lacking at state level,” Ms Milledge said.
Other recommendations delivered by Ms Milledge include the development of a parliamentary committee to consider legislation relevant to cruise ships.