THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED HERE
4.20pm UPDATE: The Ministry of Transport has released the following statement on the Braemar cruise ship:
“The Braemar cruise ship carrying five persons who have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus will not be permitted to dock in The Bahamas and passengers and crew will not be allowed to disembark. This decision is based on consideration for the protection of the health and safety of the Bahamian people and residents of The Bahamas. The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) has been in constant communication with the owners of the Braemer, which is a Bahamas-flagged ship. The BMA has reaffirmed to the Braemar that should it arrive in Bahamian waters, The Bahamas will do all that it can to provide humanitarian assistance. This may include providing fuel, food, water and other supplies as needed by the vessel. The BMA continues to monitor the well-being of passengers and crew with updates at regular intervals. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the people who have contracted the coronavirus and who are at immediate risk.”
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
A FRED Olsen cruise line ship is headed to The Bahamas, its flag state, after five people on board tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The Tribune understands Bahamas Maritime Association president Denise Lewis-Johnson was summoned Wednesday for an emergency meeting with government to discuss the matter.
It is not clear how authorities will respond to the ship's arrival or what the protocol is.
In a statement released internationally, the cruise line announced changes to the MS Braemar cruise ship itinerary after confirming five cases of the COVID-19 related to four crew members and one passenger.
"The ship, which was due to end today – Thursday – its cruise through the 'Western Caribbean and Central America' in Barbados, changed course after a cautious response from local authorities, and is now heading for the Bahamas (its flag state)," it said.
"We are currently working with The Bahamas, the UK government, the UK Chamber of Transport and Public Heath England to ensure that all guests can return home as soon as possible."
The Tribune is reaching out to officials for comment on this developing story.