Sunday, March 15, 2020

Coronavirus-hit cruise ship in diplomatic scramble to find somewhere to dock

The MS Braemar

Emma Reynolds and Patrick Oppmann, CNN

(CNN) — A transatlantic cruise ship carrying more than 600 passengers with at least five confirmed coronavirus cases on board is frantically searching for somewhere to dock after it was refused entry at multiple Caribbean ports.

British officials have launched an intense diplomatic effort to find a country willing to take the the MS Braemar, which belongs to the British company Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. Twenty passengers and another 20 crew members, including a doctor, are in isolation after displaying influenza-like symptoms while traveling on the the ship.

The Braemar is anchored about 25 miles offshore in the Bahamas waiting for clearance from the local government to bring aboard vital food, fuel and medications and two doctors and two nurses who are preparing to assist the onboard medical team.

The vessel, which is carrying 682 passengers and 381 crew members, arrived in the Bahamas on Saturday. Authorities there were the latest to prevent it from docking but was given permission to drop anchor southwest of Freeport.

"No other Caribbean ports were willing to accept the ship because of local sensitivities towards COVID-19 coronavirus," the company said in a statement.  Read more >>