Costa Mediterranea Sails to Get Crew Home; Sets Course for China

Costa Mediterranea  (Photo: JD Schwartz / tributestudios.com)

Costa Crociere is preparing to use the Costa Mediterranea to get crew from the Philippines and Indonesia home, according to a document circulated on board the vessel.

According to Costa’s plan, the 2003-built ship will first sail to La Spezia on April 10.

European crew will be disembarked, as will crew not required for operational reasons that can also get home.

All other crew members, with the exception of the Filipino and Indonesian crew aboard, will be then moved to the Costa Pacifica.

“For these crew members we are restlessly working with Governments and air companies in order to guarantee a safe journey back to home,” the company’s letter said.

Meanwhile, Filipino and Indonesian crew aboard the Pacifica, except for those needed for minimum safety manning, will be transferred to the Costa Mediterranea.

The Mediterranea will then sail to Brindisi and meet the Costa Fortuna, taking on the Filipino and Indonesian crew from the latter ship.

Finally, the Mediterranea will set her course for Shanghai with projected port stops in Indonesia and the Philippines to disembark crew.

Costa said it is working closely with local government and manning agents to get crew home safely.

It is unknown what the company’s plans are for the ship in China, but the Mediterranea, along with the Atlantica, has recently been transferred to Carnival Corporation’s joint venture with China State Shipbuilding.

The Mediterranea has previously been scheduled to leave the fleet in 2021.

Westerdam arrives in Cambodia

The Westerdam

Holland America Line’s Westerdam has arrived in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, after being rejected by five other Asian countries.

The ship, with 1,455 passengers and 802 crew onboard, had been turned away the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Guam and most recently Thailand, over coronavirus concerns. There are no confirmed cases onboard.

“The Westerdam has arrived and local officials are aboard,” Holland America said in a statement. The line expressed gratitude yesterday to the Cambodian authorities “for their support” and reiterated that “all guests onboard are healthy, and despite erroneous reports, there are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus on board, nor have there ever been.”

The ship will remain in port for several days for disembarkation, Holland America said, and guests will transfer via charter flights to Phnom Penh for forwarding travel home. The cruise line said it will arrange and pay for all flights home, in addition to the full refund and a 100% future cruise credit.

The Westerdam is on a 14-day cruise that departed Hong Kong Feb. 1 and was previously scheduled to disembark Feb. 15 in Yokohama, Japan.

Holland American cancelled the Feb. 15 cruise scheduled to embark in Yokohama. The line said no further cancellations have been finalized and it is assessing the impact of current port restrictions in Asia on cruises departing Feb. 29 or later.

Thailand turns Westerdam Away

The Westerdam, pictured above, has also been turned away by the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. Its owner Holland America Line says there are no coronavirus cases on-board

Thailand becomes the latest country to turn away Westerdam cruise ship as it bars passengers from disembarking despite no cases of coronavirus on board

The Westerdam, pictured above, has also been turned away by the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. Its owner Holland America Line says there are no coronavirus cases on-board.

There are more than 43,000 coronavirus cases declared in the world so far and 1,018 deaths
There are more than 43,000 coronavirus cases declared in the world so far and 1,018 deaths

The chief of the Department of Disease Control Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai said Tuesday that the Public Health Ministry had rejected a request from the crew of the MS Westerdam to dock at Laem Chabang in eastern Thailand.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chano-cha confirmed the ban but said Thailand was looking a way to give humanitarian assistance and will be able to provide the ship with necessities such as fuel and food.

The Westerdam began its cruise on January 16 in Singapore. Shipowner Holland America Line says there are no known cases of the virus on board.

Thai Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakulhad indicated on his Facebook page several hours before the official announcement that the ship would be denied entry.

The Westerdam, shown by the yellow ship, is currently rounding the bottom of Vietname and heading towards Thailand

The Westerdam, shown by the yellow ship, is currently rounding the bottom of Vietnam and heading towards Thailand

He posted his declaration after Holland America announced it was sailing to Laem Chabang, where passengers would disembark on February 13 to take flights home from Bangkok. The announcement by the shipowner attracted much attention among Thai social media users.

Holland America had already announced that passengers would receive a complete refund. It said a scheduled departure of the Westerdam on Feb. 15 from Yokohama had been cancelled and planned departures after Feb. 28 were being assessed.