PortandTerminal.com, February 12, 2020
The stranded Westerdam cruise ship has been granted a port of entry by authorities in Cambodia. This comes after 4 other ports turned away the ship over unfounded fears that coronavirus was present on board.
Is their ordeal soon to be over? Around 2,000 passengers and crew aboard the Holland America Line Westerdam remain stranded on the open seas after being turned away by four ports.
Now, the cruise line says, Cambodia has granted permission for the ship to dock on Feb. 13.
Thailand refused to allow the Westerdam’s passengers to disembark in Bangkok yesterday after initial reports that it would allow them to do so.
Instead, the Thai Navy said it planned to order the Westerdam to moor off the Thai coast and would supply fuel, food, medicines and other staples so that it would “safely arrive at its final destination”, presumably Cambodia. A Thai navy ship was seen escorting the Westerdam on February 12th.
The Philippines, Guam, Japan and Thailand all turned the ship away from its ports despite assurances that no one on board had been diagnosed with coronavirus.
All guests on board are healthy and despite erroneous reports there are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus on board, nor have their ever been.Holland America statement
In a public statement, Holland America Line says the 2,257 passengers and crew members will be able to go ashore in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. The cruise line will transfer the passengers over the next few days via charter flights to Phnom Penh, and will pay for each person’s flights home.
“Westerdam is now sailing for Sihanoukville, Cambodia, where the current cruise will end. We will arrive at 7:00 a.m. local time on Thursday, Feb. 13 and will remain in port for several days for disembarkation. Guests will be able to go ashore. All approvals have been received and we are extremely grateful to the Cambodian authorities for their support.“
(Part of the Holland America statement issued today)
The Westerdam is the latest cruise to be caught in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak. A virus-stricken ship has been under quarantine at the Yokohama Bay in Japan since Feb. 5. At least 174 people on board the Diamond Princess have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Wednesday.
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