Rejected by Two Ports on Virus Fears, Cruise Heads to Mexico

A ship operated byMSC Cruises is sailing for Cozumel, Mexico, on Wednesday after authorities in two Caribbean ports effectively denied it disembarkation over coronavirus fears.

On Tuesday, Jamaican authorities delayed a disembarkation decision on the MSC Meraviglia for “many hours,” according to a statement from the company. Overnight, Grand Cayman authorities denied the ship disembarkation in Georgetown.

“In both instances, the ship was effectively turned away simply based on fears,” the company said.

Cozumel is the MSC Meraviglia’s next scheduled port of call.

MSC Cruises, which says it doesn’t have any evidence of coronavirus on the ship, said it was in touch with local health authorities in Mexico to ensure that their decision on disembarkation is factually based.

MSC Cruises said its medical records show one case of seasonal flu in a crew member, who boarded the ship in Miami after traveling from Manila.

The episode is the latest example of a cruise ship seemingly trapped at sea over coronavirus concerns, as governments seek to keep cases away from their shores. The incidents have hit consumer sentiment during peak bookings season, battered cruise stocks and prompted companies to reduce profit estimates for the year.

Until now, the showdowns over cruise-ship concerns have taken place in Asia and Europe. The Meraviglia debacle strikes much closer to home for U.S. and Latin American authorities. Brazil justconfirmed the first coronavirus case in the latter region.

Geneva-based MSC Cruises is part ofMSC, a closely held shipping and logistics company.

Source: Read Full Article