Phuket Cruise liner let-in cops flak
Critics stage claims of double requirements
‘Seabourn Ovation’ in Phuket (photograph by Achadtaya Chuenniran)
Greater than four,000 passengers and crew members from two cruise liners had been allowed to alight in Phuket on Thursday, after public well being officers mentioned they’d cleared them of the lethal coronavirus, prompting criticism of double requirements after the Netherlands-flagged MS Westerdam cruise ship was turned away on Wednesday.
The Bahamas-flagged Seabourn Ovation, which has 495 vacationers and 470 workers on board, anchored on the Phuket deep-sea port on Thursday. It was getting back from Malaysia’s Langkawi Island. Everyone onboard, most of them European, had been screened by public well being officers earlier than being given permission to step ashore.
Phuket Marine Workplace chief Wiwat Chidcherdwong confirmed all passengers and crew on the ship had examined unfavourable. The ship was anchored for simply 10 hours earlier than it departed for Singapore.
One other cruise liner, Quantum of the Seas, with three,100 passengers and crew on board, docked at Phuket’s Patong pier, and everyone was allowed to disembark after their temperatures had been examined. The ship then continued to Singapore.
Phuket governor Pakkapong Tawipat mentioned the primary two months of the 12 months is the height interval for cruise liners to go to Phuket with 17 anticipated this month and 12-15 subsequent month. Deputy authorities spokeswoman Traisulee Traisoranakul mentioned the Seabourn Ovation was allowed to dock in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laem Chabang in Chon Buri, Koh Kood in Trat, Kuala Lumpur, and Langkawi.
Docs on board the ship reported all passengers and crew had no signs of the virus and had been in a position to be traced because the ship was in port for simply 10 hours, Ms Traisulee mentioned. This was completely different from the Westerdam liner which sought permission for an emergency docking and was turned away by Thailand and 4 different international locations, she mentioned.
“Thailand has no coverage to ban any ship from docking… However the nation now has measures to manage illness, and the security of Thais is a precedence,” she mentioned.
#seabournovation has been trending on Twitter in Thailand as web customers questioned the seemingly completely different requirements utilized within the circumstances of the Seabourn Ovation and the Westerdam.
Since crusing from Hong Kong on Feb 1, the Westerdam with 1,455 passengers and 802 crew had been turned away by Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam and Thailand over fears that a few of its passengers could have been contaminated by the coronavirus. Twenty-one Thais are additionally among the many passengers and crew.
Earlier on Wednesday, Thailand was requested to permit the ship to dock at Laem Chabang after the operator requested assist from the World Well being Organisation (WHO) and governments. Thai authorities, nonetheless, denied the ship permission to dock, citing precautionary measures in opposition to the coronavirus.
Deputy Transport Minister Atirat Ratanasate mentioned the Marine Division had labored to display all passengers and crew on board the Seabourn Ovation and the Quantum of the Seas in step with customary practices. The ships had been requested to ship well being stories of their passengers and crew to medical doctors on the Phuket immigration 24 hours earlier than the ships docked, Mr Atirat mentioned.
In the meantime, Cambodian authorities mentioned on Thursday that at the very least 20 passengers of the Westerdam who’ve been unwell can have samples of their blood examined on the Pasteur Institute for attainable coronavirus an infection.
Pol Maj Gen Chuon Narin, a Preah Sihanouk provincial policeman, mentioned a authorities working group is aboard the ship to offer medical checks to passengers and crew earlier than they’re allowed to disembark.
“We suspect that 20 of the passengers could also be contaminated with coronavirus and their blood samples will probably be flown to Phnom Penh to expedite issues,” he mentioned. The Westerdam, which is owned by Holland America Line, arrived on the Cambodian deep-sea port on Thursday morning.
Pol Maj Gen Atchayon Kraithong, head of the Immigration Bureau’s Division three, mentioned rigorous measures had been in place to display any passengers from the Westerdam who intend to journey to Thailand to board flights.