Stranded Holland America cruise ship with 2 confirmed COVID-19 cases will be allowed to cross the Panama Canal

panama canal zaandam holland america

  • The MS Zaandam, a Holland America cruise ship with two
    confirmed cases of COVID-19 onboard, will be permitted to transit
    the Panama Canal, according to a statement put out by the Panama
    Canal Authority.
  • “The Panama Canal is preparing to facilitate the transit of the
    Zaandam through the waterway, after receiving authorization from
    Panama’s Ministry of Health,” a Panama Canal Authority spokesperson
    said in a March 28 statement sent to Business Insider.
  • On March 27, the Panama Canal Authority sent a statement to
    Business Insider saying that, under protocols set by Panama’s
    Ministry of Health, vessels under quarantine were not able to
    “transit the Canal.”
  • Four passengers have died aboard the ship, after an outbreak of
    respiratory illness sickened 138 people onboard.
  • The MS Zaandam will not be scheduled for transit until it
    enters the waters of the Panama Canal.
  • With the approval of the Panama Maritime Authority, the vessel
    is currently transferring its healthy passengers to its sister
    ship, the MS Rotterdam.
  • Are you a cruise-ship passenger or employee with a story to
    share? Email acain@businessinsider.com.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The MS Zaandam, a Holland America cruise ship with two confirmed
COVID-19 cases onboard, will be permitted to transit the Panama
Canal, according to a statement from the Panama Canal
Authority.

“The Panama Canal is preparing to facilitate the transit of the
Zaandam through the waterway, after receiving authorization from
Panama’s Ministry of Health,” a Panama Canal Authority spokesperson
said in a statement sent to Business Insider.

Holland America did not immediately respond to Business
Insider’s request for comment.

The Panama Canal Authority is the autonomous legal body
responsible for operating the canal. In a March 27 statement, a
Panama Canal Authority spokesperson told Business Insider that, as
per Panama’s Ministry of Health’s protocols, “if a vessel has
individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 on board, it
cannot make any port operations or transit the Canal.”

But now, with the authorization of Panama’s Ministry of Health,
the ship will be “scheduled for transit after entering Canal
waters,” according to the statement. The statement said that the
Zaandam was originally scheduled to transit the canal on April
1.

The Zaandam is now anchored outside Panama Canal waters,
undergoing a Panama Maritime Authority-approved operation in which
healthy passengers are being moved to
Holland America’s MS Rotterdam
. It has therefore not had its
transit scheduled yet.

“Traveling through the Panama Canal will allow the Zaandam to
save two days in their journey back to Florida,” the statement from
the Panama Canal Authority’s spokesperson said.

Holland America confirmed that four passengers have died on board the
ship, while two individuals have tested positive for COVID-19. The
Zaandam has been stranded off the coast of South America and
Central America after different ports began closing to cruise ships
due to coronavirus concerns. A bout of respiratory disease then
broke out on the ship, prompting 138 sick passengers and crew
members to report to the vessel’s medical center.

The cruise on the Zaandam was scheduled to last 14 days,
embarking from Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7. For some
passengers, the cruise would end after 14 days in San Antonio,
Chile. For others, it was due to April 7 in Fort Lauderdale. Those
plans were diverted because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the
cruise ship rerouted its course to sail north to an undetermined
destination. 

Are you a cruise ship employee or passenger? Email
acain@businessinsider.com.

Read the Panama Canal Authority’s full March 28 statement here:

The Panama Canal supports all efforts being made to ensure an
expedited return home for cruise passengers and crew on Holland
America’s Zaandam.

The Panama Canal is preparing to facilitate the transit of the
Zaandam through the waterway, after receiving authorization from
Panama’s Ministry of Health.

The cruise ship is currently anchored outside Panama Canal
waters, where passengers are being transferred to Holland America’s
Rotterdam, as part of an operation approved by the Panama Maritime
Authority (AMP).

The ship will be scheduled for transit after entering Canal
waters, which has not occurred to-date. According to the Zaandam’s
itinerary, the vessel was originally scheduled to transit on April
1.

Traveling through the Panama Canal will allow the Zaandam to
save two days in their journey back to Florida.

SEE ALSO: Panama
health authorities say Holland America cruise ship cannot pass
through canal with cases of COVID-19 onboard

READ MORE: A
cruise ship with 1,800 people is unable to dock at any local ports.
Now 138 are sick, 4 are dead, and coronavirus cases are being
confirmed on the stranded ship still at sea.

SEE ALSO: 138
passengers and crew members have fallen ill aboard the stranded
Holland America cruise so far, and a coronavirus test is still on
the way


Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH:
Watch this amazing time-lapse showing how ships get through the
Panama Canal

Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
Stranded Holland America cruise ship with 2 confirmed COVID-19 cases will be allowed to cross the Panama Canal