Fort Lauderdale / Berlin (TEH) – The drama about the cruise ship “Zaandam” in the Caribbean with eight Corona people on board is now coming to ahead. Florida Governor Ron Desantis does not want the ship to enter Fort Lauderdale Harbor.
Meanwhile, the president of Holland America Line, Orlando Ashford, warned of further deaths on the ship. “Four guests have already died and I fear that further human lives are at stake,” he wrote on the website of his company, which operates the “Zaandam” and the sister ship “Rotterdam”. Both ships are currently traveling together in the Caribbean and have 2500 passengers and crew on board, including about 80 Germans.
According to Ashford, the number of people infected with corona on Zaandam has now risen to eight. 193 people had flu symptoms. Of the four passengers who died in Argentina three weeks ago since the ship’s departure, the cause of death is still unknown.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is now also concerned with the drama. Already on Monday, he expressed hope that the two ships would soon be able to enter the port of Fort Lauderdale and that the passengers could be flown out from there. “We are working on it, but I cannot give the all-clear yet,” said the SPD politician in an “image” interview.
There were originally 79 Germans on board the “Zaandam”, including the pensioners Eva von Braunschweig (72) and Jurgen Wolff (82). The two had posted a call for help via video on Instagram at the weekend. “I have an unbearable fear for the life of my husband and myself,” says Braunschweig in tears. “Five children and 14 grandchildren are waiting for us at home, please help!”
According to a “Focus” report, the two are said to have switched to “Rotterdam” along with most other Germans, where there are no passengers who tested positive for the virus.
The two ships continued on course for Florida on Tuesday despite the governor’s cancellation. The administration of the port of Fort Lauderdale had recently shown itself open to the admission of the ship, but the conditions had been met: the shipping company had to present a detailed plan of how it would take the passengers on board and home. In addition, the company had to take care of the transport and medical care of the sick passengers ashore, disinfect the luggage of the guests and dispose of the medical waste properly.
The “Zaandam” and the “Rotterdam” were expected to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning (local time). In addition to the German passengers, there are 305 US citizens and 247 guests from Canada on board the ship.
The Holland America Line has been heading to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale since the 1930s. In the 2019 financial year, the cruise lines of the shipping company moored 129 times in the port and brought 459,194 people to Florida. The shipping company generated sales of $ 8 million in the port. The “Zaandam” was christened in May 2000 by the actresses Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in Port Everglades.