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Cruise ship with 2,000 onboard refused port by five countries amid coronavirus fears

  • Cruise ship with 2,000 onboard refused port by five countries amid coronavirus fears
    Passengers concerned the ship could run out of food after it was turned away by Japan, Taiwan, the US territory of Guam, the Philippines and Thailand Cruise ship with 2,000 onboard refused port by five countries amid coronavirus fears
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Passengers concerned the ship could run out of food after it was turned away by Japan, Taiwan, the US territory of Guam, the Philippines and Thailand

More than 2,000 passengers and crew have been left stranded aboard a cruise ship and low on supplies after Thailand became the fifth country to deny it permission to dock over fears about the coronavirus.

The MS Westerdam, carrying 2,257 passengers and crew, is moored in the Gulf of Thailand with nowhere to dock after being refused entry by Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, the US Pacific territory of Guam and now by Thailand on Wednesday, even though no cases of the virus have been found onboard.

There are fears the ship could start running out of food as it searches for a port.

Stephen Hansen, a Canadian who is on board the Westerdam with his wife, said they had joined the ship on 16 January in Singapore and were originally scheduled to get off in Yokohama, its intended final destination.

“Passengers are okay but anxious for a resolution,” Hansen told the Guardian in a message on Wednesday. “If it goes on much longer the ship will run low on food, fuel and medications.

“Day to day life on board is still pretty typical for a cruise. There are no restrictions on movement, eats etc. Generally the mood is still okay but each new rejection/disappointment brings increased frustration and anxiety.”

Hansen, who is from Vancouver, said the crew were doing an “amazing job trying to keep life normal and passengers happy. A few passengers have become angry and are venting on social media but I think most are trusting that it will all work out okay soon.”

“That said, this has become a political issue and our governments need to step in our behalf. Maybe they already are but we have no news of that.”