SA Cruise News

AIDAmira cruise ship quarantined in Cape Town over Coronavirus concerns

The German cruise ship AIDAmira, sailing her first-ever South African cruise season, has been put under quarantine in Cape Town due to suspected Coronavirus on-board.

AIDAmira arrived in Cape Town this week at the end of a two-week roundtrip cruise along the South African and Namibian coasts. However, it was reported that six of her passengers had shared a flight into Cape Town with a crew member aboard a merchant vessel who subsequently developed symptoms consistent with Coronavirus.

AIDAmira is the first cruise ship AIDA Cruises has ever homeported in SA

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The merchant vessel returned to Cape Town so that the crew member could be evacuated to hospital, and when AIDAmira arrived back in Cape Town she too was placed under quarantine.

A joint operations centre was set up and the vessel was permitted to dock, while the six passengers were evacuated and taken to hospital for testing. The rest of her passengers and crew remain on-board and are not permitted to disembark.

Anybody with suspected Coronavirus will be taken to a quarantined area arranged by Port Health officials, according to IOL.

“This is the first suspected case of Covid-19 in a South African sea-port,” said Acting chief harbour master Captain Sabelo Mdlalose.

There are three ships currently docked at the Cape Town Cruise Terminal at the V&A Waterfront (World Odyssey and Le Lyrial in addition to AIDAmira), but all other operations are continuing as normal, according to Donald Kau, a spokesperson for the waterfront.

“World Odyssey arrived on Saturday. Passengers on World Odyssey were cleared by the Department of Health and disembarked. Le Lyrial arrived on Monday and passengers were also cleared and disembarked,” he said.

The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town

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“The port is not closed, all commercial operation continues. We are working with port health and local communicable disease management teams to make sure our staff, customers and visitors are safe,” Kau added.

However, Cruise Arabia & Africa has been told by the National Port Authority that all cruise operations in South Africa are being suspended, which has forced MSC to cancel its Durban season early.

The confusion comes amid the ongoing Coronavirus global pandemic, which has forced the global cruise industry to suspend operations until at least the end of March.

The shutdown is due to concerns that cruise ships may be particularly vulnerable to an outbreak of the virus, after Diamond Princess saw 700 of her passengers fall ill last month.

Meanwhile, at least six South Africans are under quarantine aboard a cruise ship in Chile due to fears that some passengers may have the virus.

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