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Virus Ship Told: You Can’T Land – Cruise Liner With Five Infected Not Allowed To Dock

MS Braemar (file photo)

MS Braemar (file photo)

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas government said yesterday it will deny a ship registered under its flag permission to dock and disembark its passengers and crew in this country after five people on board tested positive for COVID-19.

However, the ship continued its journey toward The Bahamas up to press time last night because of what its captain said was advice from the British government, adding there were “continuing talks regarding permission to disembark.” The cruise company, Fred Olsen, is based in the United Kingdom.

The Bahamas government pledged to do all it could to provide humanitarian assistance if the ship does arrive to this country.

Fred Olsen’s MS Braemar vessel set sail here with four stricken crew members and an ill passenger after it was denied entry to Barbados where its Western Caribbean and Central America cruise was supposed to end yesterday. On Monday, government officials in Alberta, Canada announced that a recently disembarked passenger of the MS Braemar had tested positive for COVID-19 and a second infection of a returning passenger was confirmed a day later.

The Ministry of Transport said in a statement yesterday: “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.”

After the government’s statement was released and reported, ship officials updated their website to say there had been “conflicting information and media speculation” about the matter.

“After speaking with our office in the UK and following advice from the British government, we are continuing our passage to The Bahamas,” the captain said, according to an extract of his announcement on board the vessel posted online by the company. “As I have already mentioned, we have received confirmation that essential services and provisions including medical supplies and fuel are available to us when we reach The Bahamas…As it stands, we are therefore continuing talks regarding permission to disembark. Please bear with me in this incredibly frustrating time, where rumour is plentiful and facts are in short supply.”

It is not clear when the ship is scheduled to arrive in Bahamian waters. 

In a previous update, the captain had said the people with confirmed cases of coronavirus and another person with an inconclusive result are being looked after in isolation along with anyone else reporting flu-like symptoms. There was no demand on-board that people stay in their cabins, he said. 

The Tribune understands Bahamas Maritime Authority President Denise Lewis-Johnson was summoned for high-level talks with the government as early as Wednesday to discuss this matter.

It is not clear what the implications are of the Bahamas denying docking permission to a ship under its flag.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months, 1 week ago

The Bahamas government pledged to do all it could to provide humanitarian assistance if the ship does arrive to this country.

Which one of our government idiots was given the authorization by cabinet to make such a decision that threatens the lives of many thousands of highly vulnerable Bahamians??!!!!!!!

The British High Commission in the Bahamas should be told to pack its bags and leave our country if they are strong arming our government on behalf of the UK government to allow this ship to dock and unload any of its passengers or crew. The owners of this ship have their headquarters in the UK, not The Bahamas. Furthermore, both the UK and US are much better resourced to handle the grave threat this ship poses. Our country has little or no resources as it is to deal with a widespread outbreak of COVID-19.

The US government has likely told the UK government in no uncertain terms that this ship will not be allowed to dock at a port anywhere in the US. So the UK government is bullying, yes bullying, the government of its former slave colony - the Bahamas - into making a very foolish decision to lend assistance in Bahamian waters and/or allow docking at a port in the Bahamas.

Doesn't the UK still have British Territories within the Caribbean region, e.g. the British Virgin Islands? Why hasn't the captain of this ship been told to steer towards one of those British 'owned' territories rather than putting the lives of all Bahamians at great risk???!!! WHY ISN'T THE MINNIS-LED FNM GOVERNMENT DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO PROTECT THE LIVES OF BAHAMIANS? WHY HAS OUR GOVERNMENT OPENED THE DOOR TO ASSISTING THIS SHIP IN BAHAMIAN WATERS AND THEREBY PLACING THE LIVES OF MANY THOUSANDS OF THE MORE VULNERABLE BAHAMIANS IN GRAVE PERIL?!

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B_I_D___ 10 months, 1 week ago

Not quite that simple...the cruise ship is registered in and flies the Bahamian Flag. Every other country can refuse it, we cannot.

Biggest question comes as to how we deal with it once it is here.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months, 1 week ago

POPPYCOCK! SIMPLY NOT SO.

NO NATION IS REQUIRED TO HAVE THE LIVES OF MANY THOUSANDS OF ITS CITIZENRY GRAVELY ENDANGERED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE. IN FACT, THE FIRST DUTY OF A RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT IS TO PROTECT ITS OWN CITIZENRY FROM DEADLY THREATS OF ANY KIND.

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bogart 10 months, 1 week ago

Yes and no. Yes it may be legally permitted to go into the port of Flag it is flying. And No if the country is inadequate and more of a danger of the country'citizens. Commonsense would be for it to arrange to be in a country best able to handle all now and possible likelihood of best solutions to all.

If this vessel was flagged with a LIBERIAN FLAG would anyone recommend that these thousands of passengers go to a Port in Liberia ...?????

Time that the British authorities step up to the plate to assist. Mabye bring up an aircraft carrier...with medical lab...mabye bring over a best British medical team along with chosen or Bahamian volunteer Doctors and Medical personnel and helicopter them to the ship...this is not a time of bickering in legal wranglings and instructions in a commonsense situation .

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observer2 10 months, 1 week ago

Excellent point BID. The fact remains that if the Bahamas Ship Registry in London registers a ship in the Bahamas then that ship's home, like a Bahamian Citizen, can not be denied entrance into the Country. So the British government, often very frustrated with banana republics with fly by night offshore companies, permanent residencies, zero income tax rates and ship registry flags of convenience told the ship to "go home".

"Many shipowners are allowed to remain legally anonymous in open registry systems, making it difficult to identify and prosecute legal actions (whether civil or criminal) against these individuals. Some ships with flags of convenience have been found engaging in criminal activity, offering substandard working conditions, and spewing pollution into the environment or illegally fishing. As a result, ships flying under these flags are now targeted by other nations for special enforcement when they make call in one of the host nation's ports." Source: Internet.

Now that we have 5 confirmed cases of Covid 19 at the dock where 10,000 tourist a day disembark, we have put the entire country at risk for a couple of ship registration fees. Greed at its worse.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months, 1 week ago

You can thank Ian Fair and the others like him who were so gungho to have our nation chase peanuts and join the likes of Liberia reputation-wise.

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ThisIsOurs 10 months, 1 week ago

"virus ship" not funny but....funny. this is something like that NBC series with the navy ship that was avoiding people and ports because of a global pandemic. in reverse

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TalRussell 10 months, 1 week ago

Moments ago all 38 million comrade Canadians were officially told by their government to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the country. Further that anyone who has traveled to any country outside of Canada has also been asked to self-isolate to prevent the spread of the virus. Further advised that Cruise ships with more than 500 passengers will not be allowed to dock at any Canadian port until July 1.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months, 1 week ago

We really need to drive a stake right in the heart of all of these cruise ship companies which have always been nothing but blood sucking vampires on tourist destinations like the Bahamas.

For the last four decades or so these vampires have been growing in size to the point where they are now extremely over-sized floating hotels that cannot possibly be kept clean and have therefore become dangerous breeding grounds for all kinds of pathogens harmful to mankind. These filthy monstrous floating vampires have quite literally sucked the life blood out of our economy. They have a business model that aggressively seeks to keep all profits of any kind for themselves by destroying all economic linkages to our local economy. The all-inclusive onshore resorts like Sandals seek to emulate their 'take-all, leave nothing' business model.

And now the cruise ship companies are seeking to compliment their very greedy business model by directly competing with the beach experience that was previously the domain of the more upscale onshore hotel properties. This should not be allowed by our government as a matter of economic policy. Accordingly under no circumstance should Royal Caribbean or any other cruise ship company be allowed to acquire large beach front parcels of Crown Land on any of our major inhabited islands, including the western end of Paradise Island.

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bogart 10 months, 1 week ago

The capitalist system has businesses and shareholders looking for maximum returns on their shares. These businesses are geared for getting the best to survive and grow and be successful. Its their nature......On the other side is the govt and governing of a political party... as representatives of the best interests for the people for decades..every five years.

DILEMNA is on the other side are a few dominant political parties geared for their political party success...each party for their own stamp for their selfish interests....Seems these parties only use the government as a tool or vehicle to get the best interests for the party...to the points that each will untie contracts of the other...making delays of previous...not attending to critical concerns of the people...reducing importance of critical concerns...not implementing legistation to slow their curruption....not doing most anything unless it is for the benefit of what seems to be syndicates like all for me baby instead of servants servants of the people.....well being of the people and every 5 years people.

Imagime nation never made provisions for reliable BEC to gradually replace engines until it falls apart,...look at banks operating like oligopoly, look at some 4,000 mortgage accounts defaults crippling industry,...look at illegal shantytown death traps inhuman conditions...look at keepikg Bahamasair losing money and buying new defective jet to lose even more money,...look at up to yesterday looking at helping desperate hurting Freeport and their Bank BoB have booklets of Freeport houses land for Repossession inserted in newspapers to show helping people and previous weel having booklet of helping people fix standpipes,...wives now getting to get paid to go on trips ....look at the national sport being Cricket but somehow spending going to some 50 Million for Baseball stadium,..look at the perpetual failing Education system,....just go on and on and on........

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