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26 Feb, 2024 09:28

Island state blocks US ship from docking at its ports

The Norwegian Dawn vessel, carrying over 3,000 people, has been quarantined off the coast of Mauritius, according to authorities
Island state blocks US ship from docking at its ports

A cruise liner owned by a US-based company has been prevented from docking in Mauritius after being deemed a health risk, the country’s port authority announced on Sunday.

Health officials have collected samples from around 15 passengers who were in isolation on board the Norwegian Dawn vessel for testing, with the results expected within 48 hours, the Mauritius Port Authority (MPA) said in a statement.

According to the agency, the ship, which is carrying 2,184 passengers and 1,026 crew members, was due to sail to the French territory of Reunion Island on Saturday and arrive at the Mauritian capital, Port Louis, the next day.

However, it “did not go to Reunion Island and arrived in Mauritius earlier, on February 24 around 6:00 p.m.,” according to the MPA statement.

The incident has left some 2,000 passengers who would have completed their cruise by disembarking in the African nation stranded on the vessel, as well as 2,279 new passengers expected to board.

“Passengers who were due to board the Norwegian Dawn and begin their cruise from Mauritius today [Sunday] will not be able to do so due to potential health risks. They will have to be relocated to available hotel establishments,” the port authority declared.

“The health and safety of passengers as well as that of the country as a whole are of the utmost importance to the authorities,” it added.

The Norwegian Dawn was reportedly on a 12-day voyage from the South African city of Cape Town to Port Louis, which began on February 13.

In a statement, the US-based Norwegian Cruise Line, which owns the ship, said a number of travelers had experienced mild symptoms of stomach illness while on the trip to South Africa.

“Due to additional testing being required by local authorities before being allowed entry, the government of Mauritius has delayed disembarkation for the current cruise and embarkation for the next cruise by two days to Feb. 27, 2024,” the company said.