Cruise Ship Denied by Five Ports Now Stuck at Sea
MS Westerdam continues to be one of the latest cruise ships affected by the coronavirus outbreak, after Thailand became the fifth country to deny the ship from docking at its ports. This latest development keeps the 2,257 passengers and crew stuck aboard the Holland America Line ship after nearly two weeks at sea.
The ship had initially been permitted to dock at Laem Chabang, Thailand on February 13, 2020. However, panic over the coronavirus led Thailand’s Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, to announce on Tuesday that no crew members nor passengers would be allowed to disembark from the ship.
In addition to Thailand, ports in Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Guam have denied entry of the passengers. The ship was originally due to dock in Yokohama, Japan on February 14. Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess is currently quarantined in Yokohama, with 130 of the ship’s 3,700 passengers and crew reported to have been infected with the coronavirus.
Though Thai officials are concerned that passengers aboard MS Westerdam may be infected by the virus, the ship’s operator says there is no reason to believe that there are any cases of coronavirus on board.
The World Health Organization may offer a solution by having health authorities board the ship to assess the health of passengers. Thai officials have allegedly suggested that, if the ship enters Thai waters, “authorities may seek to board the ship to determine the health status of passengers and crew, to determine whether they would be allowed to eventually disembark in Thailand.”
The ship is currently off the southern coast of Vietnam. According to FOX News, passengers have been given complimentary phone and Internet access, and Holland America Line with be granting passengers full refunds and 100 credit to their next cruise.
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