(CMR) Holland America is headed to Fort Lauderdale with 1,243 guests aboard the ship and 586 crew members along with four dead persons that died from the COVID-19 infection. Additionally, the ship has two confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 53 guests and at least 85 crew are reporting flu-like symptoms.
Broward country officials have yet to make a final decision if the MS Zaandam cruise ship will be able to disembark there on March 30 but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Coast Guard are working on procedures that would assist in making a final decision.
The severity of the situation came to light after a recording was leaked to Business Insider by crew members from The Rotterdam, another ship that provided them with medical supplies and medical personally yesterday night off the coast of Ecuador. That ship only had 611 crew on board. A leaked memo also now indicates that the Rotterdam will take some “healthy passenger” off the Zaandam. Holland America later confirmed the authenticity of the memo and made a case for the humanitarian mission. The leaked recording said;
“Holland America Line can confirm that four older guests have passed away on Zaandam. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and we are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time.”
Zaandam is currently off the coast of Panama, heading towards Fort Lauderdale.
The ship had originally departed Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 and should have ended on March 21 at San Antonio, Chile. However, “due to global health concerns, Holland America Line made the decision to suspend its global cruise operations for 30 days and end its current cruises in progress as quickly as possible so guests could return home.”
No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile. Passengers have been asked to remain in their cabins.