Washington / Fort Lauderdale (TEH) – US President Donald Trump wants to get involved in the tug of war over the fate of several thousand people on board the cruise ship “Zaandam” on the way to Florida.
Trump said Tuesday night (local time) that he would soon speak to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. “I will do what is right – not just for us, but for humanity.” The president added: “There are people who die on the ship or at least are very sick.” DeSantis had said he did not want the ship to enter Fort Lauderdale harbor with several corona infected people.
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 sailing together in the Caribbean and have 2500 passengers and crew on board. Among them are about 80 Germans and more than 200 British.
In two deaths, including a Briton, the COVID-19 lung disease was proven, PA quoted on Wednesday morning from an email from a spokesman for the shipping company. A total of nine people tested positive for the coronavirus. Almost 200 people are said to have flu-like symptoms.
In addition to Florida’s governor Desantis, the district committee of the responsible Broward County had also gotten stuck: “No decision today,” said the short message service Twitter on Tuesday evening (local time). The plans submitted by the shipping company “had to be worked on even more”.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is 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.
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 an admission of the ship, but laid down several conditions for the supply and transportation of the passengers. The “Zaandam” and the “Rotterdam” were expected to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning (local time).
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.