PortandTerminal.com, February 11, 2020
BANGKOK, THAILAND – Yesterday it looked as if Thailand would accept Holland America’s increasingly desperate Westerdam cruise ship and allow its 2,000 passengers to finally disembark.
The Westerdam has been turned away by ports in Japan, Philippines and Guam over false fears that passengers onboard have the coronavirus.
Holland America and authorities on board the vessel have emphasized repeatedly that “Despite media reports, we have no reason to believe there are any cases of coronavirus onboard,”.
Hopes were dashed earlier today when Thai Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Tuesday announced that Thailand would NOT allow the ship to disembark at Laem Chabang as was announced earlier.
Mr Anutin posted a short Facebook message saying he has directed authorities not to allow the Westerdam ship to dock in Thailand.
Anutin says that Thailand is willing to provide necessities like food/fuel to the ship as more than 2,000 onboard. But the nation “needs to protect itself against the coronavirus”. Thailand has 32 confirmed cases of the virus and there is reportedly significant public pressure not to allow the Westerdam passengers to disembark.
Where does that leave the Westerdam now? Which country will accept the increasingly desperate passengers on board?
The World Health Organization seemed to offer a ray of hope — saying that health authorities may try to board the ship to assess the passengers’ health to see whether they may be allowed to get off the ship in Thailand.
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