HAL cruise ship seeks port for cruise ship Westerdam
Shipping company Holland-America Line (HAL) is working on a solution for its cruise ship Westerdam. Although it was first allowed to dock in a port near Bangkok on Monday 10 February, that permission was revoked again a day later for fear of spreading the novel coronavirus.
There are 1455 passengers and 802 crew members on board. The Wuhan virus was not detected in any of them. Still, Thailand decided not to allow the passengers.
‘The ship is not in quarantine. We know this is confusing for our guests and we appreciate their patience,’ says HAL in a statement.
Passengers have said that they are very frustrated with the decision. ‘We thought everything was settled. Everyone had already booked the flights, now we have to wait and see again,’ said a passenger.
Diplomatic and political involvement
The Dutch government is now also looking for a solution for the cruise ship. Contacts are on a diplomatic and political level, reports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. The Westerdam sails under the Dutch flag, but is owned by the American shipping company Holland-America Lijn. That is why the US is also involved.
‘Our full commitment is to ensure that the ship can dock and that the people are freed from their plight,’ says Dutch Minister Stef Blok (Foreign Affairs). ‘The talks are still ongoing.’ According to the minister there is still enough food and fuel on the ship.