Trump insists US 'has to help' Coronavirus-hit cruise ships heading to Florida

   April 2, 2020 ,   Accidents

Donald Trump said that the USA “has to help” two Coronavirus (COVID-19)-hit cruise liners en-route to Florida amid warnings that more travellers could die onboard in case the vessels are denied docking and passenger debarkation.

Four people have died and dozens are with flu-like symptoms on ms Zaandam and ms Rotterdam (HAL Holland America Line-operated vessels)) which are awaiting permission to enter Port Everglades. Zaandam has been stranded at sea for over 2 weeks after several Latin American countries refused the vessel docking. The fleetmate Rotterdam was then deployed to deliver supplies and assist Zaandam in South America.

On Thursday, Florida officials are expected to decide whether both cruise ships can enter US waters and proceed to Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades, Florida) from where hundreds of passengers will be transported home.

Port of Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades, Florida)

At the White House press briefing on Wednesday, President Trump indicated that Canadian and British nationals would be immediately evacuated after leaving the cruise ships. HAL must facilitate home flights for all international passengers (as part of the requirements to enter the port), including Australians, Europeans, and other nationalities on both liners.

In a statement on Wednesday, HAL said tourists who met CDC health guidelines would be transported back home immediately once on land, largely via charter flights. Around 10 passengers will require immediate critical care and 45 with a mild illness will be required to stay onboard until they have recovered with the crew.

According to Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, who initially opposed the docking, he had a long phone meeting with HAL President Orlando Ashford. Trantalis had earlier feared that travellers from the ship would add to the burden the city was already facing from the virus but later said he was satisfied with the line’s new plan for safely disembarking people from the cruise ship.

For other ms Zaandam accidents and incidents see at the ship's CruiseMinus page.

For Coronavirus updates on cruise ship quarantines (infected passengers and crew) and top-pandemic countries (COVID-19 cases and deaths, daily updated statistics) see at CruiseMapper's Norovirus page.