JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Last passengers leave cruise ship in Cambodia after virus clearance

Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 15:52 GMT+7
Last passengers leave cruise ship in Cambodia after virus clearance
The last passengers from the MS Westerdam, a cruise ship that spent two weeks at sea after being turned away by five countries over fears that someone aboard might have the coronavirus, travel in a bus towards Phnom Penh, after being cleared to disembark, in Sihanoukville, Cambodia February 19, 2020. Photo: Reuters

SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia -- Remaining passengers who were stuck onboard a cruise ship docked in Cambodia for almost a week left the vessel on Wednesday after they tested negative for the coronavirus, a government official said.

MS Westerdam, operated by Carnival Corp’s Holland America Line, arrived in the port of Sihanoukville on Feb. 13 having been turned away at five other ports after leaving Hong Kong, which has reported more than 60 cases of the virus and two deaths.

The ship came under renewed scrutiny amid Cambodia’s quick clearance for passengers to fly home, which was criticized after one American woman who had been on the cruise ship tested positive for the virus over the weekend after a special flight chartered by the cruise reached Malaysia.

On Wednesday, a series of cheers went up from people lining the lower deck of the cruise ship and there were several loud blasts of the ship’s horn as passengers began disembarking, 18 days after the ship first left Hong Kong.

“The last 233 passengers on MS Westerdam are disembarked and will continue to Phnom Penh by buses,” said Kheang Phearum, spokesman for Preah Sihanouk province, where Sihanoukville is located.

Holland America Line confirmed in a statement the last passengers had been given health clearances to leave the ship and make their way home.

“The company is working to finalize arrangements for everyone,” the statement said, adding that those who traveled home previously will be contacted by their local health department.

Upon leaving the vessel, passengers received traditional checkered Cambodian scarves as souvenirs.

The passengers will spend a night in capital Phnom Penh and then fly home, said Sun Chan Thol, Cambodia’s minister of public transport.

“Tomorrow, they will leave for their home countries,” said Sun Chan Thol.

Holland America said the ship would remain at dock in Sihanoukville while hundreds of crew members were being tested.

The vessel spent two weeks at sea after being turned away by Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Thailand even though the cruise operator insisted there were no coronavirus cases aboard.

Some 1,455 passengers and 802 crew boarded the cruise ship when it set sail on Feb. 1 from Hong Kong.



Read more




Experience summer sand-boarding in Mui Ne

Sand-boarding, a popular activity amongst local children in the coastal tourism town of Mui Ne in south-central Vietnam, is attracting hundreds of tourists to the Red Sand Dunes

Young maple trees given better protection as Hanoi enters rainy season

The trees are currently growing well, with green leaves and healthy branches.

Hunting skinks for food in southern Vietnam

Skink meat is known to be soft, tasty, and highly nutritious.

Vietnamese-made app allows people to grow real veggies via smartphone

Nguyen Thi Duyen, a young engineer in Hanoi, developed the app and its related services to help busy people create their own veggie gardens.

Chinese tourists hit by Vietnamese over dine and dash

Four Chinese were reportedly injured, with one having a broken arm.

Latest news