Cruise ship 'floating aimlessly' off coast of Africa' after being 'hit by CHOLERA outbreak

Monday, February 26, 2024
 – A Norwegian Dawn cruise liner is reportedly 'floating aimlessly' off the coast of Africa' after Mauritian authorities barred it from docking due to a possible cholera outbreak.

The 12-day cruise had sailed from South Africa via Mozambique, and had been scheduled to dock in Port Louis on Sunday, but arrived a day earlier after missing out on a stop at Reunion Island.

One Brit, who had been due to start his cruise over the weekend, said that he has tried to cancel his trip and is considering getting expensive flights back to the UK as he is 'scared to get on a contaminated ship'.

'[I am] not on the ship but waiting to get on and not wanting to... it has been complete chaos onshore,' he told MailOnline, saying he had received no updates and that the situation was a 'complete shambles'.

The ship has a crew of around 1,000, and of the more than 3,000 on board at least 15 people, 14 passengers and one crew member - are said to be in isolation with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea.

A tanker vessel has been pictured near the ship by a passenger on board as it remains off the Mauritian coastline.

A group of journalists had been due to embark on a press trip on the vessel on Sunday before they heard that there was suspected cholera on board, USA Today reports.

A mother-of-two on the ship told Dutch newspaper BN DeStem that passengers had been told that there could be cholera on board, and that they could face up to ten days in quarantine if it is confirmed.

'You can imagine that the atmosphere among the passengers is not pleasant,' Dutch holidaymaker Esther Verdaas said.

'Flights are being missed, people have lost money on hotels booked in Mauritius. Guests are angry, rebellious, sad. These are luxury problems, of course. But what I find difficult is that so much is unclear. Can we go home? When? How? Where do we get tickets?'

There have been significant cholera outbreaks in southern Africa over the last few months, with at least 188,000 cases recorded across seven countries since January 2023 and more than 3,000 deaths.

'The decision not to allow the cruise ship access to the quay was taken in order to avoid any health risks,' the Mauritius Ports Authority said.

'The health and safety of passengers as well as that of the country as a whole are of the utmost to the authorities,' it added, without giving any details about the nature of the health risk.

A spokesperson for the U.S.-headquartered Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement that during the ship's trip to South Africa on February 13, some passengers had experienced mild symptoms of a stomach-related illness.

Once in Port Louis, the ship's management worked with Mauritian authorities to make sure precautions were in place and all on board were okay, the spokesperson said.

The port authority said its test results would be known in 48 hours.

The ship has 2,184 passengers and 1,026 crew members. Of these, about 2,000 passengers would have disembarked in Port Louis after completing their cruise while another 2,279 new passengers had been expected to board the ship, the port authority said.

'Passengers who were due to board the 'Norwegian Dawn' and begin their cruise from Mauritius today will not be able to do so due to potential health risks,' it said.

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