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Thread: No port in a storm: Australia tells virus-stricken cruise ships to go home

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    Apr 2016

    No port in a storm: Australia tells virus-stricken cruise ships to go home

    No port in a storm: Australia tells virus-stricken cruise ships to go home

    Andrew BEATTY

    AFP April 3, 2020, 6:49 AM UTC

    More than a dozen cruise ships are believed to be off Australia's coast, carrying around 15,000 crew and some experiencing outbreaks of coronavirus (AFP Photo/PETER PARKS)
    Australia insisted Friday it would not let the crew of multiple virus-stricken cruise ships into the country, slapping aside suggestions it was falling short on legal and moral obligations.

    More than a dozen ships are believed to be off Australia's coast, carrying around 15,000 crew and some experiencing outbreaks of coronavirus.

    "We have issued notices to all of these ships to leave Australian waters," Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram told local media Friday.

    "If ever there was a time, I think, for ships to go back to where they're registered, it's probably during a time of a global pandemic like this."

    Many vessels fly under flags of convenience -- registered to countries such as Panama, the Bahamas and Liberia, which have scant capacity to screen or treat an influx of possible virus carriers.

    The issue has become a global problem, with ships looking for safe ports from Florida to Yokohama to Perth and angry authorities accusing the multi-billion dollar cruise industry of being reckless.

    Australian authorities say they will not risk unleashing a wave of COVID-19-positive people into the country, burdening local health services that are already scrambling to increase capacity.

    Cruise ships have already accounted for almost 10 percent of Australia's more than 5,000 infections and several deaths.

    And the issue has become politically fraught, with local pundits dubbing the vessels "Death Ships" and one nervous state leader calling for the navy to intercept a cruise ship full of German tourists.

    Attitudes hardened when the government allowed 2,700 passengers to walk off the Ruby Princess in Sydney last month, despite a cruise ship ban being in place.

    More than 300 of the passengers later tested positive for COVID-19.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his controversial home affairs minister have sought to publicly distance themselves from the mistake, leaving state authorities and the security services to comment.

    Police earlier this week announced plans to drop doctors onto eight ships to check on crew members, in a bid to fulfil a basic duty of care.

    Some ships are already heeding the warning to leave and others have said they will do so after they refuel.

    But some are still warning of a humanitarian crisis and refusing to depart.

    The Cruise Lines International Association -- a trade group -- said this week it was working to the resolve the problem but needed government help.

    "If allowed, cruise lines will arrange charter flights for their crew or transport aboard their own vessels, but workable arrangements with government are required to make this happen," said the group's Australasia director Joel Katz.

    "Australia has successfully processed many tens of thousands of people through its airports in line with COVID-19 precautions, and we believe it is entirely safe and feasible to allow movements of crew in a similarly sensible and ordered process."

    Natalie Klein, a law professor at the University of New South Wales said convention meant that distressed ships are allowed to dock, but states could make exceptions.

    "The Maritime Labour Convention makes clear that Australia is duty-bound to offer medical care to crew on ships in its territorial waters," she said.

    "Under international law, a state might refuse access to its ports for a ship that poses a serious and unacceptable safety, environmental, health or security threat to it. A pandemic would no doubt count in this regard."

    Last edited by Beezer; 04-03-2020 at 02:00 PM.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    Apr 2016
    Do not "refuel" and go full speed ahead to the United States!

    Trump needs to declare that our ports are CLOSED.

    They must go to the countries they are registered.


    We do not want ONE of these floating petri dishes let alone TWELVE of them.

    Should not have let those ones dock in Miami!!!

    We are not the dumping ground!
    grandmasmad likes this.


  3. #3
    Senior Member Scott-in-FL's Avatar
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    Aug 2014

    Passengers will be allowed off Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships off Florida

    Passengers will be allowed off Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships off Florida

    By Ray Sanchez, Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt, CNN

    (CNN)A pair of cruise ships carrying passengers with flu-like symptoms docked in Florida's Port Everglades on Thursday evening, ending a nightmarish voyage disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

    An agreement between the cruise line and local and federal authorities will allow healthy passengers to go home while the sick remain on board for treatment, according to Broward County officials.

    After days of uncertainty over their final destination, the Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships will have passengers disembark Thursday night at the Fort Lauderdale port, Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief said Thursday.

    Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis sought to allay community concerns over the possible spread of the virus.

    "Holland America agreed to a strict set set of protocols if the county decided to allow the ships to dock," he said via Twitter Thursday afternoon, referring to the agreement involving the cruise line, U.S. Coast Guard, Homeland Security, state and federal health officials and Broward County.

    "Given the county's decision to allow the ships here, I believe these regulations present a humanitarian solution for those on board while providing strong safeguards for our community," the mayor said.

    The Zaandam's South American itinerary changed dramatically when nine passengers tested positive for Covid-19 and four men died on board. Sharief said the men were over the age of 70 -- two had been diagnosed with Covid-19, one suffered a heart attack and another succumbed to a preexisting illness.

    Broward County Mayor Dale Holness told reporters that 26 passengers with possible coronovirus symptoms will remain on the ships. Additionally, 13 passengers and one crew member will be treated at a local hospital. At one time more than 200 guests and crew had flu-like symptoms.

    Holness said about 1,200 guests "deemed well and fit to travel," per CDC guidelines, will be given masks and transported by private buses directly to the tarmac at Fort Lauderdale International Airport for five charter flights home Friday night and Saturday. They will undergo two layers of health screening.

    Nearly 40 Florida residents will receive transportation to their home and be required to self quarantine for 14 days, Holness said.

    "Our top consideration is the health of our community as well as those on board," he said. "It shows the good side of Broward County."

    Holland America said late Wednesday that it had secured a local health system to treat the fewer than 10 people in need of immediate critical care onshore. The Broward Health Hospital System confirmed Thursday that critically ill patients from the Zaandam would be transferred there, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Smith.

    "Prepare to disembark" was the long-awaited, reassuring message delivered to passengers by the captain of the Rotterdam, the Zaandam's sister ship, on Thursday morning, according to passenger Laura Gabaroni.

    Some 200 passengers hail from countries requiring connecting flights to get home, Sharief said
    Passengers on the Zaandam include 311 US citizens from 46 states, including 52 Floridians. Broward residents among them have agreed to isolate for an additional 14 days at home. The rest from from countries ranging from Canada to the UK to Australia.

    Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine Thursday expressed frustration that the decision over the ships' final port was left mostly in the hand of local officials. He said he had to field calls from consul generals from other countries in the past few days.

    On Wednesday night, the British-American cruise line called the plight of those on board a "humanitarian situation." It made a last-ditch appeal to federal and local authorities to allow the cruise ships to disembark in the Port of Everglades.

    "Holland America Line calls for compassion and reason in the review and approval of our disembarkation plan by Florida officials," the cruise line said in a statement.

    The appeal came hours after Gov. Ron DeSantis said his state was willing to accept Floridians on board the cruise ships.

    There are 808 guests and 583 crew on the Rotterdam and 442 guests and 603 crew on the Zaandam, according to Holland America.
    DeSantis expressed concerns about taking in others given the state's limited hospital beds.

    The Zaandam, on which four guests have died since it departed Argentina's capital March 7, is among more than a dozen cruise ships stranded at sea as ports deny entry and passengers panic about returning home.

    'They need to get to land'

    The Zaandam began transiting the Panama Canal late Sunday after being docked off Panama for several days. The boat and its occupants have been in limbo for weeks awaiting permission to disembark after several South American ports denied the ship's entry.

    The US Coast Guard, in a marine safety information bulletin issued Sunday, said an increase in foreign passenger vessels requiring medical evacuations was straining local medical resources.

    Passengers have "better access to comfortable surroundings and medical staff on board the foreign passenger vessel where care is already being provided," according to the bulletin.

    Holland America's Zaandam cruise ship, with sick passengers and crew members on board, seeks a port to dock.

    Jennifer Allan said her mother, Gloria Weed, 70, and father, Bill Weed, 75, have been quarantined in their cabin aboard the Zaandam in what she described as "solitary confinement."

    "My dad has developed pneumonia," she told CNN this week. "He's getting worse. They need to get to land. They need to get medical attention sooner rather than later."

    Allan said her parents, who live in Sarasota, Florida, came down with a fever about 10 days ago. She described the efforts of the Zaandam crew members to care for passengers as "extraordinary" even though many are themselves sick.

    No one has left the ship since it stopped in Punta Arenas, Chile, on March 14. Guests were originally told they could disembark in Chile for flights, but ultimately that was forbidden.

    Holland America deployed the Rotterdam to offer relief. Rotterdam met Zaandam off Panama on March 26 to "provide extra supplies, staff, Covid-19 test kits and other support as needed."

    Holland America transferred healthy Zaandam guests to Rotterdam.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    Apr 2016
    Why didn't they "get to land" in Panama or Chile!!!!

    Full speed ahead to the USA just like everybody else on the planet. I hope this cruise ship is paying for every dime of this.

    "Forbidden" to dock everywhere else but here.


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