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The American Cruise Line Ship No Nation Wants

Updated on February 12, 2020
The Westerdam searches for a port
The Westerdam searches for a port

Coronavirus Fear

When 2000 vacationers boarded the Holland America cruised ship, Westerdam, little did anyone ever think the impact of a little known virus in Wuhan, China, impact their plans. But, that was before 174 passengers aboard the Diamond Princess docked at Yokohama, Japan, with positive tests of the coronavirus COVID-19 that originated in Wuhan, China. That was also before 3-4 passengers aboard the World Dream cruise docked in Hong Kong with infected travelers.

For the 2000 passengers aboard the Westerdam, where ZERO passengers have the virus, the ship has been trying to dock for fuel and supplies. So far, five countries have denied access:

  • Japan
  • Guam
  • Philippines
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand

Many passengers hoped that their ship would dock, they would get off, and catch a flight home to end the nightmare. The ship was headed for Hong Kong until it was informed that it would not be allowed to dock.

For the passengers, life is just having an extended cruise. The Holland cruise line will reimburse the cost to them whenever they dock. The question is where? While Thailand refused to dock them, they did send out a ship with fuel and supplies.

The fear of the virus, that now has infected over 45,000 and killed 1100, mostly in China is new. A vaccine is not near and it seems to be spread by contact and airborne from infected persons. However, once a person is infected, symptoms do not reveal themselves until 10-14 days, during that time, others could be infected without knowing it.

In a reverse situation, the ship might be the world's last hope if a pandemic spreads across the globe, those 2000 aboard the ship have been isolated and virus free. In this situation, where would they dock? Some uninhabited island atoll?

The ship continues to hunt for a place to dock. It is a bit odd that even the U.S. possession, Guam, refused, since the ship is American. This tells one of the irrational fear the new virus has caused. Why not just dock the ship, test every passenger?


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