After being denied docking permissions by 5 places in Asia, the MS Westerdam was finally been allowed to dock in Cambodia.
WHAT IS MS WESTERDAM?
MS Westerdam is a cruise ship that has been denied docking permissions by 5 countries over a fear of its passengers carrying Coronavirus.
The ship had 1,455 passengers and 802 crew on board, with 0 confirmed cases of Coronavirus.
MS Westerdam is run by the US-based Holland America Line. It departed from Hong Kong on 1st February and was supposed to sail to Yokohama. Another ship, called the Diamond Princess, has been quarantined in the port of Yokohama. It is currently the largest cluster of coronavirus outside China, with more than 200 confirmed cases.
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WHAT WAS THE SITUATION OF MS WESTERDAM?
The ship was denied docking permission by Bangkok on Tuesday. A Thai Navy ship escorted it out of the Gulf of Thailand.
Other than Thailand, it was denied permissions by Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines, and Japan.
A passenger on the ship was reported as saying “We’ve had so many near moments – we thought we were going home only to be turned away.”
Westerdam’s passengers and crew had started to worry about fuel and food supplies after 14 days as the ship’s original journey was 2 weeks long.
WHERE IS MS WESTERDAM NOW?
The ship arrived at a docking point in the port city of Sihanoukville on Thursday morning.
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Vincent Smit, the ship’s captain, told the passengers that authorities would conduct health checks on board after the ship would anchor outside Sihanoukville. After said health checks, passengers will then be able to deboard. They would then be able to return to their home countries from the country’s capital Phnom Penh.
The Minister of Health of Cambodia has confirmed that there is NO coronavirus aboard the #Westerdam. Passengers will begin to disembark in the morning. Thank you Cambodia! 🙏
— Christina Kerby (@ChristinaKerby) February 13, 2020
“This morning, just seeing land was such a breathtaking moment,” passenger Angela Jones from the US told Reuters. “I thought: is this real?”
The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) praised Cambodia’s decision to welcome the MS Westerdam.