Drama off the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean: The cruise ship “Zaandam” is desperately looking for a port. And may not invest anywhere. At the beginning of March the “Zaandam” left Buenos Aires (Argentina) and wanted to drive to Florida via Chile. However, the South American ports refused entry on March 15 – the fear of the virus was too great.
The ship arrived in Panama last week, where it was only allowed to sail through the Panama Canal into the Atlantic after days of negotiations. At the time, two passengers had died from the corona virus, and dozens were already ill. This Wednesday the ship should finally reach Florida – the end of the journey is in sight. But Florida Governor Ron Desantis takes passengers’ hope away. He does not want the ship to enter Fort Lauderdale Harbor.
No beds for people who are not from Florida
“We see this as a very big problem and we don’t want people in South Florida to be dumped right now,” he told Fox News. His state cannot afford to run out of bed capacity from people who are not from Florida.
Meanwhile, the terror continues on board. According to the shipping company, eight people have now tested positive for the corona virus, and 193 people also have flu symptoms. Four people have died on board in the three weeks since departure, the cause of death is unknown.
10 Swiss on board
The president of the Holland America Line shipping company, Orlando Ashford, urges: “Four guests have already died and I fear that more lives are at stake.”
After all: The “Zaandam” is on the way with its sister ship “Rotterdam”. Some passengers could switch there. But many remain on the death ship. Including at least ten Swiss, as the FDFA says on request. You are in contact with some of the passengers to support them. How the Swiss are doing is not known.
The two ships continued on course for Florida on Tuesday despite the governor’s cancellation. The administration of the port of Fort Lauderdale had recently shown itself open to receiving the ship, but there were conditions: The shipping company had to present a detailed plan of how it would take the passengers on board and home. In addition, the company had to take care of the transport and medical care of the sick passengers ashore, disinfect the luggage of the guests and dispose of the medical waste properly.
The “Zaandam” and the “Rotterdam” are expected to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. (with SDA material)