PortandTerminal.com, March 31, 2020
The fate of passengers and crew from Holland America Line’s Zaandam cruise ship is still in question after Florida’s governor said Monday that he does not want to see them disembark in Florida. Who can blame him?
MIAMI, FL – The Miami Herald reported yesterday that State Governor Ron DeSantis has said that he does not want to see people from the cruise ship Zaandam get off in Florida.
Nearly 450 passengers from the Zaandam, 73 of them showing flu-like symptoms, hope to disembark at Port Everglades when the ship arrives at Florida’s coast as soon as Wednesday.
“We cannot afford to have people who are not even Floridians dumped into South Florida using up those valuable resources,”Gov. Ron DeSantis on Fox News
He said that only 33 percent of hospital beds in Florida are available and that field hospitals have been set up in case there is a surge in coronavirus patients. “I don’t want to be in a situation where those [hospital] beds could have gone to Floridians” DeSantis is quoted as saying.
The Zaandam, operated by Carnival Corporation’s Holland America Line, has seen four passengers die and at least two test positive for COVID-19 after being turned away from Chile on March 21. The company has been trying to find a port that will accept it since then.
Where does this leave the passengers on board the ship? Holland America, the owner of the cruise ship, has issued a plea on behalf of those stranded at sea begging for humanitarian assistance.
Many, including PortandTerminal.com, are appalled at Holland America’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and are asking why the line continued to operate long after it was clear that it was unwise to do so.
A problem that was created by Holland America’s greed and stupidity has now evolved into a humanitarian crisis.
For now, Gov. DeSantis said he is in contact with the White House as two cruise ships, the Zaandam and its sister ship the Rotterdam, filled with sick and possibly more infected passengers approach Florida. We don’t envy Gov. DeSantis or the first responders, nurses and doctors in Florida that are having this mess dumped onto their laps.
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