By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
ROYAL Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas is anchored off the coast of Great Harbour Cay with 14 crew members positive for COVID-19, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar confirmed yesterday.
However, the minister 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 presently, 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.
According to the Miami Herald yesterday, a crew member aboard the ship recorded the captain’s Saturday announcement of the positive COVID-19 results over the loudspeaker system. “At the moment, we have 14 that have tested positive for COVID-19 onboard the Oasis of the Seas out of all we have tested,” the captain said in the recording, the Herald reported.
The ship was based at PortMiami until the industry cancelled new cruises on March 13. Royal Caribbean said in a statement to the Herald: “The health and well-being of our crew is our foremost priority. Crew members who exhibited symptoms were evaluated by our medical staff and remain under close supervision. In accordance with our health and safety protocols, our crew have been asked to self-isolate in cabins while we await confirmation of initial results from public health authorities.”
However, in its statement the cruise line did not say anyone had tested positive.
The captain, the Florida daily said, did not say when the patients had been tested. The crew member, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation, said some workers showed flu-like symptoms aboard the ship before the company suspended cruises on March 13.
“It’s a little scary because we didn’t know there were so many cases on the ship,” the crew member said.
The ship docked at PortMiami on March 15 to let off the last of its passengers. One of those passengers said neither the company nor border patrol asked about his health nor checked for fever when he disembarked. He said his waiter in the main dining room disappeared midway through the seven-night cruise.