BFF-34 Cruise ship with two coronavirus dead aboard docks in Miami

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Cruise ship with two coronavirus dead aboard docks in Miami

MIAMI, April 4, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – The virus-hit Coral Princess cruise ship, with two dead and at least a dozen infected passengers on board, docked Saturday in Miami after being turned away from several Latin American ports in a month-long odyssey.

“All of us at Princess Cruises are deeply saddened to report that two guests passed away on Coral Princess,” the cruise company said in a statement sent to AFP.

“Our hearts go out to their family, friends and all who are impacted by this loss.”

The company provided no details on the dead passengers.

Princess Cruises said earlier this week that a dozen confirmed coronavirus sufferers were on board the Coral Princess.

The Bermuda-registered ship, with 1,020 passengers and a crew of 878, arrived in Miami early Saturday after a failed attempt to dock in the port of Fort Lauderdale, 30 miles (50 kilometers) to the north on the Atlantic coast.

On Thursday, two Holland America cruise ships — the Zaandam and the Rotterdam — docked in Fort Lauderdale with four dead and dozens of ill passengers, but only after an intense dispute with local authorities that required President Donald Trump’s personal intervention.

Most passengers disembarked on Saturday amid rigid hygienic precautions, though the ill and all crew members remained on board.

Meanwhile, Princess Cruises said that the disembarkation of the Coral Princess passengers would take several days due to the shortage of available flights, with those needing medical attention receiving priority.

The Coral Princess began its journey on March 5, leaving the Chilean port of Santiago on a voyage that was supposed to end in Buenos Aires on March 19.

But authorities in that port turned it away after Argentina closed its borders due to the pandemic, and ports in Uruguay and Brazil later did the same.

After an unusually high number of passengers and crew developed flu-like symptoms, the captain on Tuesday ordered all passengers confined to their cabins.

Both Princess Cruises and Holland America are subsidiaries of the Carnival Corporation.

BSS/AFP/MRU/2250HRS