Fred Olsen Cruise Ship Stands Still near the Bahamas with Five Positive-Tested Passengers

Caribbean News…
16 March 2020 12:02am
Fred Olsen MV Breamar

A British cruise ship is in limbo off the coast of the Bahamas, with one passenger and four crew members who have tested positive for coronavirus, USA Today reports.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines said Sunday that another 20 passengers and 20 crew members, including a doctor, are showing flu-like symptoms. They and the five people who tested positive are in isolation.

According to USA Today, there are 682 passengers on board the Braemar, the majority of them British nationals, the company said.

The Braemar dropped anchor Saturday morning 25 miles southwest of Freeport, according to a statement from the company. It will be restocked with food, fuel and medication. Two doctors and a nurse are awaiting clearance to join the ship to assist the medical team, the company said.

It will not, however, be permitted to dock. The country's transport ministry refused to allow the ship's passengers and crew to disembark "at any port in the Bahamas." The Bahamian government will provide humanitarian assistance to the ship.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is a British-based division of a shipping and real estate corporation that was established in 1848 by three Norwegian seafaring brothers. Today, it operates four midsized cruise ships, including the Bahamian-registered MV Braemar.

Two British government officials were sent to Freeport to assist Bahamian authorities with the resupply operation.

The five people tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday while the ship was docked in Curacao. 

The ship was denied permission to dock in Barbados and at other Caribbean ports. The Braemar is flagged in the Bahamas, leading the company to attempt to dock there and disembark passengers.

For now, the Braemar is effectively quarantined at sea. The ship left St. Maarten on March 2 and was due to disembark in Barbados on March 12. 

On Friday, U.S. cruise operators agreed to pause their operations for the next 30 days in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Princess Cruises, which has two ships that have experienced coronavirus infections, halted its operations for 60 days. More than 700 passengers became infected with the coronavirus on the Diamond Princess, which sat off the coast of Japan for nearly two weeks. Six of those passengers died.

On Saturday, the company was winding down the process of disembarking the Grand Princess in California. At least two passengers and 19 crew members tested positive for the coronavirus.

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