Supplier: Holland America Line
The operators of a cruise ship that was barred from docking by four governments announced Wednesday it will finally land and disembark passengers in Cambodia.
Thailand had said Tuesday that it would not allow Holland America Line’s Westerdam to dock at a Thai port after it had already been turned away by the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. The ship has been unwelcome because of fears that those aboard could spread coronavirus, now known as COVID-19.
Holland America Line said no cases of the disease have been confirmed among the more than 2,200 passengers and crew on board.
Fear about the spread of the disease has heightened since Japan’s health ministry confirmed at least 174 cases of the disease aboard Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess, still quarantined off the coast of Yokohama, Japan until at least Feb. 19.
A statement on Holland American Line’s website said the Westerdam is sailing to Sihanoukville, Cambodia, and would arrive Thursday morning. It said the cruise will end there and passengers will disembark over several days and transfer via charter flights to Phnom Penh to catch flights home.
“All approvals have been received and we are extremely grateful to the Cambodian authorities for their support,” it said.
The Westerdam began its cruise in Singapore last month and its last stop before it was refused further landings was in Hong Kong, where 50 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed.
A passenger on the ship who has been posting messages and photos on Twitter, Christina Kerby, expressed relief at the news about Cambodia.
“Homeward bound! The #Westerdam is headed for Cambodia,” she tweeted. “Were told by the captain that it may take a few days to get everyone on chartered flights to Phnom Penh and then home. Elated at the prospect of touching land tomorrow. Until then, I’ll work on my towel animals.”