Coronavirus: 6 infected on Pride of America, Ruby Princess raided by Australian police

2020-04-09 14:40:20

Six crew members aboard the Pride of America cruise ship tested positive for coronavirus, including two who have been hospitalized, a Hawaii state agency reported.

Elsewhere, the Carnival Valor – one of the ships the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said had passengers who tested positive for coronavirus – docked in New Orleans and is letting crew members off the ship. The Coral Princess continues to disembark passengers in Miami, and Australian police raided the Ruby Princess ship linked to hundreds of coronavirus cases and 15 deaths.

The Pride of America is docked in Honolulu harbor, the Hawaii Department of Transportation said in a statement. About 500 crew members are still aboard, but the vessel has had no passengers embarked since March 14. Like the rest of the cruise industry, ships have been idled to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

There was no further information on the condition of the two crew members who were taken to a hospital. None of the names of the ill crew members has been released.

The ship is operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, which had no immediate comment. The Transportation Department said the ship is homeported in the state and offers cruise itineraries that keep it in the Hawaiian islands.

It said Hawaii’s Department of Health is working with the cruise line and the CDC to get unaffected crew members off the ship and on their way to their home states. When they arrive, they will be required to home quarantine for 14 days.

The Pride of America is docked in Honolulu.The Pride of America is docked in Honolulu.
The Pride of America is docked in Honolulu.

Crew disembarks from Carnival Valor in New Orleans 

The Carnival Valor docked in New Orleans on Wednesday night, according to Carnival spokesperson Vance Gulliksen.

“Crew members who are debarking the vessel have been cleared to fly by our medical team, the airline transporting them, and by immigration authorities,” according to the cruise line’s statement provided by Gulliksen. “They will be taken from the Carnival Valor directly to the airport via chartered buses which will be thoroughly cleaned after each use.”

The CDC released a list of cruises where passengers became symptomatic and tested positive for COVID-19 within 14 days after disembarking. This included the Carnival Valor: Feb. 29 to March 5; March 5 to 9; and March 9 to 14.

Each member of the crew had their temperatures taken every day over the past month and will do so again upon leaving the ship.

The cruise line is taking extra precautions in case of asymptomatic spread.

“For the health and safety of all crew remaining on board, all crew are being quarantined and we are following elevated protocols so that any asymptomatic team member does not inadvertently come into contact with others,” according to the statement.

Since the middle of last month, all 27 Carnival Cruise Line ships have remained docked at homeports or anchored at sea. They contain no guests, just crew.

Looking ahead to May and June, the cruise line anticipates international travel restrictions will remain in place.

“We are taking a conservative approach with regard to getting our crews back to the ships, so we have closed inventory on those sailings so that we don’t overextend our ability to provide service on board,” according to another statement provided by Gulliksen.

As of Saturday, there were 52,000 crew members remaining aboard 73 cruise ships either docked or anchored in or near U.S. ports, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement. An additional 41,000 crew members were aboard 41 cruise ships underway close to American shores.

That doesn’t count the thousands of others aboard ships frequented by Americans scattered across the Caribbean and oceans around the world.

The Coast Guard said, “The cruise industry has an ongoing obligation for the care, safety and welfare of their seafarers.”

Australian police raid Ruby Princess linked to more than 600 coronavirus infections, 15 deaths

Australian police launched a criminal investigation into the docking and disembarking of passengers from the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney last month, which led to Australia’s highest concentration of coronavirus cases.

Police wearing protective gear boarded the ship to seize evidence and question crew members of the vessel linked to more than 600 coronavirus infections and 15 deaths across Australia. 

New South Wales police, which boarded the ship Wednesday night at Port Kembla south of Sydney, said it’s expected to remain in port for 10 days with its 1,040 crew members undergoing medical assessments. About 200 have shown symptoms of COVID-19, and 18 have tested positive for the virus that causes it. The workers remaining on the ship are from 50 countries.

Authorities have been criticized for allowing 2,700 passengers and crew to disembark from the ship when it docked in Sydney on March 19.

New South Wales police Commissioner Mick Fuller said Thursday that officers seized a black box “very similar to that of international planes” and other evidence. He said the captain had been extremely helpful.

“I can confirm there’s still over 1,000 crew members on the ship,” he said, and three-quarters of them want to remain on the ship. “They feel safe on the ship, and I think that’s a good outcome.”

USA TODAY reached out to Princess Cruises and the Australian government for comment.

Contributing: Jayme Deerwester, Chris Woodyard, Morgan Hines, Curtis Tate and Rasha Ali, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Carnival Valor lets crew off ship, Ruby Princess raided

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