MaritimeNews ® 03-Apr-2020 11:10
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia/Azurfrog under CC Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 license.
After days stranded at sea trying to find a port to disembark passengers MS Zaandam accompanied by its sister ship MS Rotterdam arrived in Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The ships’ arrival in Florida has been uncertain as local authorities raised fears over the potential health risk the ships might present following confirmed coronavirus infections among passengers.
However, earlier this week the Broward County and the Unified Command gave clearance for the ship to dock and disembark guests who are fit for travel.
Broward County and the Port Everglades Unified Command have approved Holland America Line’s Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships to enter Port Everglades. The ships are entering the Port now.
— Port Everglades (@PortEverglades) April 2, 2020
“We extend our sincere gratitude to President Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, Port Everglades Unified Command, Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry and all governmental and embassy authorities who helped to resolve this situation and get our nearly 1,200 guests home. And a special thank you to Broward County Mayor Dale Holness for his leadership, help and understanding,” Holland America Line said in a statement.
Some 107 passengers have shown influenza-like symptoms on board the two ships, and there have been at least two confirmed cases of coronavirus on board the Zaandam.
As confirmed earlier, four older passengers passed away onboard the Zaandam at the end of March.
Furthermore, there are 143 crew members on Zaandam who have presented influenza-like symptoms, the company said.
There are 808 guests and 583 crew on Rotterdam. On Zaandam there are 442 guests and 603 crew. Among the guests, 311 guests are American citizens and 52 are residents of Florida.
The passengers will undergo health screenings before being cleared for entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The disembarkation is expected to be completed by Friday evening, with priority given to those who need immediate care at local health system partners who have approved their arrival.
The cruise shipping company said that fit-to-travel guests will transfer straight from ship onto buses for transfer directly to the airport for their flights home. The majority will leave on charter flights.
Local Florida residents will return home immediately via private cars.
As informed, guests have not left the ship since March 14 and have self-isolated in their staterooms since March 22.
Those who still have symptoms will remain on board and disembark at a later date to be finalized after they have fully recovered and meet the CDC guidelines for being fit to travel.
No crew from either ship will disembark in Fort Lauderdale.
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