Four passengers die on stranded Dutch cruise ship: Company

Elias Hubbard
March 27, 2020

Four elderly passengers on board Holland America's MS Zaandam have died on the cruise ship that is stuck in limbo during the coronavirus pandemic. He also stated the company planned to evacuate hundreds of healthy passengers to a sister ship anchored nearby.

"The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is aware of the situation on the MS Zaandam, which is now off the coast of Panama and expected to dock in the United States".

"Holland America Line can confirm that four older guests have passed away on Zaandam", the Dutch-owned company said in a statement.

On Thursday, a "number of patients with respiratory symptoms" tested for coronavirus, it said, and two people were positive.

Those sick include 53 passengers and 85 crew members.

The ship originally left Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 with 1,243 passengers and 586 crew on board. "Priority for the first guests to transfer will be given to those on Zaandam with inside staterooms and who are over 70". "Only those who have not been ill will be moved, and health screenings will be conducted before transferring".

However, after concerns emerged during its voyage, it was stopped from travelling on its original route, forcing it to base itself off the coast of Panama and to request permission to re-route to San Diego in California. None of the four people who have died are Irish.

The ship is now awaiting approval to pass through the Panama Canal. By March 13, however, Holland America announced it would temporarily be suspending all sailings for at least 30 days, and ending its current cruises in progress "as quickly as possible".

The Zaandam stopped in Valparaiso, Chile, at the end of last week and has food and fuel for the remainder of the ship's intended journey to the USA, the line said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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