Infected cruise ship awaits US clearance to dock

Coronavius infected cruise ship Coral Princess is still awaiting clearance to enter the US despite hoping to dock in Port Everglades today (Saturday).

The Princess Cruises vessel has 12 cases of Covid-19 on board and had planned to arrive in the Florida port.

However, the US Coast Guard is reportedly barring the ship from entering US territorial waters as the vessel “poses an unacceptable risk of medical emergency”.

A Princess Cruises spokesperson said the line was still working on how and when the Coral Princess will drop off passengers.

“Arrival and disembarkation plans for Coral Princess are being formalised and under review by numerous local officials,” the spokesperson told the Miami Herald. 

A spokesperson for the line told Travel Weekly: “Princess Cruises will provude a full update at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Broward County Mayor Dale Holness said Thursday that the company did not yet have an approved plan for docking.

Coral Princess is carrying 1,020 passengers, who are self-isolating in their cabins, and 878 crew.

The ship originally left San Antonio in Chile on a South America cruise on March 5 which was due to end in Buenos Aires on March 19.

But Princess Cruises announced a 60-day pause of operations on March 12 due to the global spread of coronavirus, with a directive to end each cruise as soon as possible.

The ship was then denied the ability to let passengers leave at ports in South America and last made a service call into Bridgetown, Barbados, on Tuesday to take on extra provisions.

The two cruise ships currently in Port Everglades – Holland America Line’s Zaandam and Rotterdam – only received final approval at the last moment on Thursday after intervention by US president Donald Trump.

During a Friday evening press conference, Trump said he made the final call: “We could have let them float aimlessly into the ocean looking for port, as they’ve been doing for a long time. And I made the decision we had to take them in.”

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