WesterdamIllustration. Source: Flickr – under the CC BY-NC 2.0 license; Image by: David and Sarah Gasson

A cruise ship operated by Holland America Line has been allowed to dock in Cambodia after it was turned away from several other disembarkation ports over coronavirus fears.

The 82,862 GT passenger ship Westerdam departed Hong Kong on February 1, carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members.

It spent two weeks offshore as ports in Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan, Thailand and Guam banned the cruise ship from docking due to the increasing threat of the coronavirus outbreak. The prohibitions came despite the fact that none of the ship’s passengers was tested positive with coronavirus.

On February 12, authorities in Cambodia granted docking permission to Westerdam, bringing the two-week ordeal to an end. The information was confirmed by W. Patrick Murphy, the US Ambassador to Cambodia.

On February 13, the cruise vessel finally reached the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville. Passengers will undergo required health checks and afterward be sent home.

“Inspection and clearance procedures are proceeding aboard Westerdam. Given the number of organizations involved in supporting today’s complex operations, it is taking time,” a spokesperson for Holland America Line told World Maritime News.

“As such, we’ve had to postpone our first charter flights out that were scheduled for today, but we have aircraft secured for tomorrow. We are grateful to everyone here in Cambodia who are helping and welcoming us today.”

Another cruise vessel is currently quarantined in Japan as the number of passengers and crew infected with coronavirus is growing. The virus onboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess has now infected more than 200 people, with patients being confined to their cabins.

The cruise ship owner, Princess Cruises, said earlier that there were 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew aboard the cruise ship covering a range of nationalities. Approximately half the guests onboard are from Japan.

World Maritime News Staff

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