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Are Cruise Ship Sick Heading Here?

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE United States Coast Guard has told foreign-flagged cruise ships to be prepared to care for people with COVID-19 for an uncertain period of time at sea or seek help from countries in which they are registered.

Rear Admiral EC Jones, commander of the Seventh Coast, issued the directive in a new communication, singling out the Bahamas.

“Foreign flagged vessels that loiter beyond US territorial seas, particularly those registered in The Bahamas, that require a (medical evacuation) to a shoreside facility should seek flag state support prior to seeking support from the limited facilities in the US,” he wrote.

Asked about the matter during a press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis was brief in his response.

He said: “There’s an ongoing discussion with ourselves and the US government.”

Rear Admiral Jones, whose Coast Guard district includes Florida, Puerto Rico, Georgia and South Carolina, wrote: "Medical facilities in the Port of Miami, for example, are no longer accepting MEDEVAC patients due to limited hospital capacity and it is expected that neighbouring counties will follow suit.”

The cruise ship industry is currently under a 30-day suspension of all trips from the US which took effect last month. But dozens of ships remain at sea.

The new rules apply to vessels carrying more than 50 people.

On Monday, The Tribune reported that Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas was anchored off the coast of Great Harbour Cay with 14 crew members positive for COVID-19.

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar confirmed the matter, but said the ship would not be allowed to dock at any port in the country.

“RCCL has confirmed that they have a number of ships situated about 15 miles away from Coco Cay,” Mr D’Aguilar told The Tribune in a brief statement.

“The ship in question has not been to Nassau in 2020 and the last day it was at Coco Cay was on February 5, 2020. Obviously, it will not be allowed to dock at any port in The Bahamas.”

Coco Cay is a private island leased by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and reserved exclusively for the cruise line’s guests.

Mr D’Aguilar said on Sunday, there were five RCCL ships anchored in that area. The Oasis has not requested food or medical assistance from The Bahamas at this time, he said.

Comments

joeblow 8 months ago

If I am not mistaken the SHIPS are registered in the Bahamas, NOT their human cargo! A person does not lose their nationality just because they traveled away from home. Countries have a duty to their citizens and the Bahamas has to push back on this!!

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lobsta 8 months ago

If I am not mistaken the BAHAMAS wants to have them registered/flagged here, but NOT be responsible for them.

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joeblow 8 months ago

... again the SHIPS are registered, that has nothing to do with the people on the ship who are not crew. The ships should not be allowed to go into foreign ports that will not accept them, but the citizens (passengers) should be repatriated to their country of origin by any number of means!

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buddah17 8 months ago

OK you really ready to receive (say) 500 or so Coronavirus patients here?

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BahamaPundit 8 months ago

We have thousands of IBC foreign companies registered here too. That doesn't give them any right to bring their employees here to work or to carry on business in The Bahamas. Registration is not citizenship. This is an outrageous and illogical decision by the US.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 8 months ago

Spot on!

And to add insult to injury, these states of the US with seaports, i.e. Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, along with the US Coast Guard for the Southeastern US, are all claiming they don't have the resources to cope with this problem of persons infected with Covid-19 stranded at sea, yet they would have the world believe the Bahamas has adequate resources to contain the risks and treat the very ill. If Minnis and D'Aguilar assume any responsibility for the people on these ships, after they have been rejected by all of America, then we know full well that our elected officials don't give a damn about the safety and well-being of Bahamians.

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Porcupine 8 months ago

Interesting. We want all the benefits of having these ships register in The Bahamas. But, not any of the responsibilities. Anything new here to see?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 8 months ago

@BahamaPundit above is right on this one. If a ship was registered in the US and carrying a group of terrorists with a detonable atomic bomb, you can be rest assured it would not be allowed to dock at any US seaport. Minnis and D'Aguilar need to recognize, as the US apparently does, that the stranded people on those ships infected with the Red China Virus are the equivalent of a detonable atomic bomb that could easily spread the virus and at the same time wipe out a fragile healthcare system. And I can't think of a more fragile healthcare system than the one our small nation has right now.

To reiterate, If Minnis and D'Aguilar assume any responsibility for the people on these ships, after they have been rejected by all of America, then we know full well that our elected officials don't give a damn about the safety and well-being of Bahamians.

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birdiestrachan 8 months ago

Are the people on the ships USA citizens? If so how can they turn away their own people?

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bey 8 months ago

Kinda like how the border here in the Bahamas is closed to Bahamians. BTW it is against United Nations Human Rights law -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom...">https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom...

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Well_mudda_take_sic 8 months ago

Which is precisely the reason we cannot accept these ships being in our territorial waters or give refuge to their foreign crew and other persons on board them who are either known to be infected by the Red China Virus or are likely infected by it but not yet showing symptoms.

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buddah17 8 months ago

We would be "idiots in the FIRST degree" to agree to bring sick cruise ship passengers to our MUCH more limited health resources in The Bahamas...

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TalRussell 8 months ago

There are already two populations in colony. The regulated 400,000 and the unregulated 500,000. How are we to manage another 50,000 stranded at sea cruise ships passengers with suspect ill-health!
Shouldn't the deep pocks cruise ships owners corporate greed not bear great financial responsibility for allowing passengers to continue boarding their ships long after the dangers virus had become known around entire globe?
Also, the potential extra financial strain placed upon government's health care system and Toilet's-papers supplies by the thousands Work Permit Nationals remaining idle in country although the company employed with is now closed for period stretching into month August. These are all robust logistic issues be talked about among comrades PopoulacesOrdinary. Nod once for yeah, twice for no?

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killemwitdakno 8 months ago

I bet carnival is re-evaluating the Freeport deal because of denial.

There are private cruise islands where they can dock. If they dock elsewhere, they should stay on board. If they come off, they have to be transported with minimal contact to a closed hotel. All must wear masks if not full coverings disembarking. At least we'll have evacuation cruises parked for storm season if need be.

Chances are we are going to lose the registry because of this, however, it was crazy of FL to expect our hospitals to absorb the patients.

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mckenziecpa 8 months ago

The benefits of registration comes with a price The Bahamas should help these people and further the same measure in place to isolate the Bahamas have two big empty hotels lots of room fly en cuba doctors

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John 8 months ago

Florida allowing ships to dock off shore. U s residents allowed to disembark and those who are sick are taken to hospitals. Foreigners are to be booked on charter flights and taken back to their home country.

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TalRussell 8 months ago

Prepare Homeland's Royal Navy's fleet war ships!
Seems colony's seas are to become more busy than just cruise ships adrift as the US begins flex its muscle by dispatching US Battleships, Destroyers, Aircraft Carriers and Submarines to fight what Trump has defined as an anti-drug crackdown in the Caribbean to deal with what he called a growing threat.
Ma comrades, if you should find yourselves out on colony's high seas - just be prepared duck. Can't make this crazy sh#t up. Just, can't. Nod once for yeah, twice for no?

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