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captain jelly

New member
Hello, I'm new on here and this is my first post. My husband and I have been on many cruise holidays and have enjoyed every one. Like many others, we are disappointed that due to Covid-19, cruise holidays are no longer an option for us. We are very concerned to learn that many empty cruise ships are being used as quarantine ships to accommodate Asylum seekers and illegal Immigrants off shore. News reports state the use of MSC Orchestra and cruise ship Rhapsody along with others, are used for this purpose. Will cruise companies identify which passenger ships are involved in this undertaking?
 

Greg

Administrator
Staff member
...We are very concerned to learn that many empty cruise ships are being used as quarantine ships to accommodate Asylum seekers and illegal Immigrants off shore. News reports state the use of MSC Orchestra and cruise ship Rhapsody along with others, are used for this purpose. Will cruise companies identify which passenger ships are involved in this undertaking?
I don't believe if this is true that is is widespread at all. Just a basic search on this topic reveals no news results I could find. Although cruise ships were used initially to quarantine guests already sick with COVID-19 onboard (back in the Spring). This does not appear to have been an ongoing thing and I know of no cruise ship used for quarantining anyone other than a current guest onboard who got sick.

As for asylum seekers and illegal immigrants, I find no credible information on this. If you have a news link stating differently please post.
 

captain jelly

New member
I post two references to recent news reports of cruise ships being used as Quarantine ships-
1) www.nytimes.com (Oct 8th 2020)
A report in the New York Times by Gaia Pianigiani..that young 'Migrant boy dies after confinement on Italian Quarantine ship..Allegra, a cruise ship being used by Italian authorities to quarantine migrants arriving this year'. The 15yr old, from the Ivory Coast, died in hospital in Palermo after spending days on the ship. Questions are being asked if 'there are enough Dr's and medical staff on "these ships" because they host hundreds of people'. (RIP young man)

2) www.dailymail.co.uk (Oct 30th 2020)
Report by- Chris Pleasance, Jack Wright, Nick ***ge, Matt Roper and Peter Allen for the Daily Mail.
'Brahim Aoussaoui, the Nice terror attacker arrived in Europe from Tunisia, via Lampedusa where he was first quarantined in a corona virus centre on the island; after five days he was then transferred to a quarantine ship, the Rhapsody, which sailed to Bari. The ship moored offshore while the migrants waited out their quarantine, 14 days from embarkation, he was released from the quarantine ship and came ashore on the 8th October..'
These are just two references to cruise ships being used for quarantine. Please read the full reports.
 

Greg

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for the details. It does appear, in these cases, the ships are being used for quarantining people entering Italy (legally).

After a little research it appears Italy has been using ships in this fashion since early summer when their hospitals became overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and the death rate there climbed steeply. The Italian government fell under pressure from its' citizens who were claiming that immigrants entering the country were unchecked and possibly worsening the issue. At that time requirements were implemented to quarantine individuals after entering the country. Cruise ships were then used to help handle the overflow from already full land quarantining facilities.

I think recent experience has proven that cruise ships are far from ideal mass quarantine facilities and they should only be used in this capacity as a last resort. At this time the practice appears to only be ongoing in Italy. Currently the active cases of COVID-19 in Italy are 6 times what they were when their hospitals originally became overwhelmed in the spring of 2020. Luckily the current infecting strain of COVID-19 appears to be less deadly and the daily deaths are not increasing at the same high rate as infections currently are. Unfortunately, just due to the extreme numbers of newly infected individuals in Italy within weeks the death numbers are still expected to match and exceed the numbers that completely shut down the country previously in the spring. I suspect the use of cruise ships for quarantining will be ongoing for sometime there considering the new COVID-19 surge they are now experiencing and lack of other currently available options.


italy-active-cases.jpg



italy-daily-deaths.jpg
 

captain jelly

New member
In view of these developments in the Cruise Industry, shouldn't companies make this information available to the public and identify which cruise vessels are being used as Quarantine ships. I feel very strongly that the Industry should be open and transparent about the matter. I am in the process of contacting Simon Calder, BBC travel expert, for more information and guidance regarding future cruise holidays. Have you any further information or advice please.
 

Greg

Administrator
Staff member
I don't think there is any attempt to hide this information from the public. Multiple cruise lines offered their ships up for this sort of thing when the pandemic began.

I don't think there is a cause for concern here either. The latest information on COVID-19 has shown that it will naturally die on its' own outside the body anywhere from a few hours (in the air) to a few days (on a surface). Even if a cruise ship is not professionally "decontaminated" it should be free and clear on any COVID-19 disease onboard in at most a couple of weeks just by doing nothing. I also don't believe a cruise line would put a ship back into service without a thorough cleaning, testing and waiting at least a few weeks before allowing passengers onboard.

The real concern for the cruise lines now is accurately identifying any sick passengers before they board. Most cruise lines already have approved procedures in place for doing this once they are ready to start cruising again. Initially you will also likely see greater restrictions on port stops and limitations to only authorized excursions in an attempt to limit any possible exposures while off the ship during the duration of the cruise.
 
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