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Over 9,000 cruise passengers stranded at sea amid coronavirus lockdowns

Over 9,000 cruise passengers stranded at sea amid coronavirus lockdowns

With countries around the world closing off their borders, cruise ships find themselves stuck at sea and scrambling for supplies.

Over 9,000 cruise passengers stranded at sea amid coronavirus lockdowns

Cruise ships left to fend for themselves as countries close borders

According to a Guardian report, there are at least 10 cruise ships still trying to dock, with most ports refusing to let them in.

Holland America’s Zaandam, carrying over 2,000 passengers, has been turned away from it’s destination port in San Antonio.

The cruise ship is attempting to port in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, though Florida’s governor insists that passengers can’t be “dumped” in the state.

“We cannot afford to have people who are not even Floridians dumped into South Florida using up those valuable resources,” Governer DeSantis said on Fox News. “We view this as a big, big problem, and we do not want to see people dumped in Southern Florida right now.”

Four people have already died on Zaandam, with two others tested positive for COVID-19. An additional 138 cases of respiratory illnesses are on board and further tests are being carried out on guests and crew.

Concern for passenger wellbeing

The Coral Princess is another ship stranded at sea, off the coast of Brazil. While there are no known cases of COVID-19 on board, the ship is being refused permission to disembark.

It is scheduled to arrive at a Barbados port to restock supplies, but no crew or guest will be allowed off. It is planning to disembark at Fort Lauderdale and allow passengers direct transfer to the airport, though US officials have not confirmed whether this will be allowed.

Lori Bressler, the daughter of two passengers onboard the Coral Princess, told The Guardian she is worried about her family’s wellbeing. “My mom and stepdad are diabetics and … we’re very concerned about them having enough medication to sustain them,” she said.

Cruise ship president begs leaders to help

Holland America’s President, Orlando Ashford, says countries have left them stranded with no support.

“They’ve turned their backs on thousands of people left floating at sea,” he wrote in a statement. “Are these reactions based on facts from experts like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or fueled by irrational fear? What happened to compassion and help thy neighbour?”

With an estimated 9,000 passengers stranded in cruise ships, Ashford says they have been forced to fend for themselves, as countries close off their borders.

“We are dealing with a “not my problem” syndrome. The international community, consistently generous and helpful in the face of human suffering, shut itself off to Zaandam leaving her to fend for herself,” he says. “I am hopeful that all of us will follow the lead of our Panamanian friends and help our neighbours.”

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