At least two Canadians are among those on a cruise ship that’s in limbo off the Bahamas due to an outbreak of coronavirus on board.
The Braemar has been anchored about 40 kilometres southwest of Freeport, Grand Bahama, since Saturday.
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Five people — four crew and one guest — have been diagnosed with the virus, according to operator Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
In total, 20 passengers who have flu-like symptoms are in isolation, along with another 20 crew members, including a doctor.
The operator confirmed that two passengers who travelled on Canadian passports are among those on board.
Consular officials at Global Affairs Canada were unable to provide additional details as of publication.
“We are aware of reports of many cruise ships having difficulties finding a location to dock and are actively monitoring the situation,” the agency said in a general update to the media on Sunday.
The voyage, a 14-night central America and western Caribbean cruise, was due to end Thursday in Barbados but changed course after the COVID-19 cases were diagnosed.
The vessel headed towards its flag state, the Bahamas, after no Caribbean ports were willing to let the ship dock.
The operator said “diplomatic discussions” were occurring in order to get passengers home as soon as possible.
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The vessel is awaiting additional supplies and is also looking to bring further medical help on board.
“I can tell you that our situation continues to be looked at as a matter of the utmost urgency between the U.K. government and our head office,” Capt. Jozo Glavic told passengers Sunday, according to the cruise line.
“Until then, please continue to bear with me and my crew.”
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The company said on Friday it was suspending operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic until May 23.
As of Friday, the Canadian government has urged against all non-essential international travel. Prior to that, they also recommended against taking cruises until further notice.
“Canadians who choose to travel on a cruise ship in spite of this advice should also be aware that they may not be offered the opportunity to return to Canada on a government-organized repatriation flight, or could be responsible for the costs of repatriation travel,” Global Affairs Canada said in a statement Sunday.
Hundreds of Canadians on two different ships stricken with the virus have already been flown home by the government and then put into quarantine.
Four former passengers of Princess Cruises’ Grand Princess were diagnosed with COVID-19 after returning to Canada on Tuesday.
Passengers on the Diamond Princess were released from their two-week quarantine in Cornwall, Ont., earlier this month.
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