A vessel operator has decided to transfer groups of healthy guests onboard MS Zaandamto Rotterdam, the sister ship, following the death of four passengers on the cruise ship. The Holland America Line, in a statement, said that the transfer will be done with strict protocols developed in conjunction with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The decision was taken after four passengers on the cruise ship off the pacific coast of the Panama coast died and over 130 people onboard are displaying influenza-like symptoms. Holland America Line confirmed the death of four older guests on Zaandam saying their thoughts and prayers are with the families and they are doing everything they can to support them during this difficult time.
Zaandam guests who have not shown any symptoms will be evacuated and moved to Rotterdam after health screening. The vessel operator has received approval from Panamanian authorities to conduct ship-to-ship operations at anchor between the two vessels.
“Priority for the first guests to transfer will be given to those on Zaandam with inside staterooms and who are over 70. Once aboard Rotterdam, all guests will continue to remain in their staterooms until disembarkation,” said the Holland America Line.
On March 22, a number of guests and crew members reported to the ship’s medical centre with influenza-like symptoms after which they were asked to remain in their staterooms. There are 1,243 guests and 586 crew onboard Zaandam with four doctors and four nurses. Since then, 53 guests and 85 crew members have reported influenza-like illness symptoms.
“While the onward plan for both ships is still being finalized, we continue to work with the Panamanian authorities on approval to transit the Panama Canal for sailing to Fort Lauderdale, Florida,” the vessel operator stated.
The cruise sailed on March 7 from Buenos Aires and was originally scheduled to end at San Antonio, Chile, on March 21. However, the cruise decided to suspend its operations for 30 days amid the global health crisis and end the ongoing trip as quickly as possible.
(Image credit: Holland America Line)