On March 28, reports revealed that four passengers died in the MS Zaandam cruise ship stranded at sea. Meanwhile, there are also 138 passengers who are suffering from flu-like symptoms.
A crew member of the Holland America Line cruise ship sent Business Insider a recording of the captain of the MS Rotterdam, its sister ship, announcing the deaths and the plight of Zaandam’s passengers.
“I am also sad to share that four older Zaandam guests have passed away. Three between yesterday and last night, and one a few days ago. “
On March 27, the Dutch-owned company confirmed that “a number of patients with respiratory symptoms were tested for COVID-19 and two individuals tested positive.”
Of the 138 ill passengers, 85 are crew members and 53 are guests.
Where was the cruise headed?
Reports say that the cruise ship was carrying 1,800 passengers on-board. The ship is currently stranded off the Pacific coast of South America for many days already.
Zaandam liner came from Buenos Aires last March 7 and was destined to arrive at San Antonio, Chile last Saturday, March 28.
The ship was refused to dock from several ports due to reports of 42 people aboard who are suffering from flu-like symptoms. They were also denied access from the Panama Canal, which was supposed to be their route on the way to Florida.
Passengers plead for help, ‘healthy’ guests to be transferred to another ship
Passengers are pleading for help. One passenger named Chris Joiner and his wife spoke to Reuters about their ordeal:
“We’re isolated. We’re stuck on this ship. We can’t go anywhere because we’re not healthy, I guess […] The trip has turned into a nightmare.”
Cheryl Deeks, a 66-year old female passenger, and her husband told Sky News:
“We’re physically well, but mentally we’re quite stressed not knowing if we had a plan, if we knew for definite what was going to happen. I know they can’t tell us, but it’s just the not knowing that makes you feel uncomfortable.”
Right now, Holland America Liner’s plan is to move healthy passengers from Zaandam onto MS Rotterdam. There are also COVID-19 testing kits brought to the ship, enough for all the passengers on-board.
According to a statement by a Holland America representative:
“Today we announced a plan to transfer groups of healthy Zaandam guests to Rotterdam, with strict protocols for this process developed in conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention […] Only those who have not been ill will be moved, and health screenings will be conducted before transferring. Priority for the first guests to transfer will be given to those on Zaandam with inside staterooms and who are over 70.”
In the meantime, the passengers have been in isolation inside their staterooms since Sunday, March 29, for the duration of their journey.
The world in COVID-19
As of this writing, there are already 663,168 COVID-19 cases worldwide. The death count stands at 30,855, with 141,953 patients who already recovered. The highest number of deaths are from Italy (10,023), followed by Spain (3,300) and China (3,300).
The world is racing to find a vaccine for the virus and international organizations are already doing their best to help fund the research for it. Meanwhile, countries are continuously advised to follow social distancing protocols to curb the spread of the virus.
Featured image courtesy of Holland America Line