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Panama Allows Virus-Affected Cruise Ship to Pass through Canal

29th March 2020
The MS Zaandam was denied access to the Panama Canal for sanitary reasons according to RTE news which added Irish citizens on board. Asymptomatic cruise passengers would be allowed to transfer to MS Rotterdam. This ship also operated by Holland America Line (HAL) is AFLOAT adds (above) is seen berthed in Dublin Port when on a visit in recent years. The MS Zaandam was denied access to the Panama Canal for sanitary reasons according to RTE news which added Irish citizens on board. Asymptomatic cruise passengers would be allowed to transfer to MS Rotterdam. This ship also operated by Holland America Line (HAL) is AFLOAT adds (above) is seen berthed in Dublin Port when on a visit in recent years. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

Permission has been given by Panama's Government to a cruise ship on which four passengers have died to travel through its canal, a day after blocking the liner over coronavirus fears, according to RTE News (last night). 

Holland America Line's 238-metre (781-foot) MS Zaandam vessel, which has up to a dozen Irish citizens on board, can now continue its trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but Panama's government underscored that no passengers or crewmembers would be allowed to set foot on Panamanian soil.

"Panama will guarantee biosecurity measures to protect the personnel who will participate in this manoeuvre and thus safeguard the health of Panamanians," the government said in a statement.

The Zaandam, which was previously on a South American cruise, was denied access to the Panama Canal for sanitary reasons, leaving passengers and crew wondering when they would get home.

In the meantime, Holland America, which is owned by Carnival Corp, sent the Rotterdam sister ship to the area as Panama's Maritime Authority said 401 asymptomatic passengers would be allowed to transfer from the Zaandam to the other ship.

For more on the story click here.

Afloat adds both cruiseships today remain at anchorage in the Pacific Ocean while offshore of Tobago Island, which lies south of the Panama Canal connecting to the Caribbean Sea.

Published in Cruise Liners
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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