Wandering Westerdam to dock in Cambodia

Koh Rong Samloem Cambodia

Thailand Denies 2,000-Pax Cruise Ship Port Entry Over Virus Fear

More than 2,000 passengers and crew have been left stranded aboard a cruise ship and low on supplies after Thailand became the fourth country to deny it permission to dock over fears about the coronavirus.

But the 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members of the Westerdam really rejoiced today after learning Cambodia had given permission for the cruise liner to dock at Sihanoukville, on its southern coast. Accounts belonging to Vice President Mike Pence and Pence's chief of staff Marc Short were also targeted.

The news comes amid growing concerns around the spread of coronavirus on cruise ships.

America's State Department last week requested that Guam allow the vessel to dock, but the U.S. territory refused.

As of 0400 UTC Feb 12, WESTERDAM was well into Gulf of Siam and Thailand waters SW of Trat islands (Koh Chang, Koh Kut, etc.) keeping sailing towards Laem Chabang / Bangkok at some 11 knots speed.

'Though Guam is prepared to deal with the potential implications of the coronavirus, few jurisdictions can screen, quarantine, or treat 1,400 patients at one time.

"Out of 53 new test results, 39 people were found positive", Japan's health minister, Katsunobu Kato, told reporters, adding that four passengers diagnosed earlier were in a serious condition.

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Holland America Line has said that it's working with authorities "to bring our guests into port as quickly as possible".

The operator said it will disembark Thursday while passengers are able to go on shore, the Carnival Corp. -owned company said in a statement.

But Japan's health ministry hasn't budged. But the ship is back in limbo after Thailand Public Health Minister Anutin Charnverakul shared on Facebook Monday afternoon that it would not be allowed to dock after all.

By Wednesday lunchtime, the Westerdam was 175 miles off the Thai coast and heading for Bangkok, according to tracking data.

The World Health Organisation said that Thai officials "may seek to board the ship to determine the health status of passengers and crew, to determine whether they would be allowed to eventually disembark in Thailand".

Among the 79 Australian passengers are Adelaide couple David Holst and his wife Judy.

Remarking on the passing warship, he joked: 'I don't think they are going to torpedo us, at least I hope not'.

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Holland America is a unit of US -based Carnival, the group that also operates the quarantined Diamond Princess liner docked at Yokohama.

Although there are no cases or suspected cases of the coronavirus, now called COVID-19, on the Westerdam, the ship has been turned away from the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. "Our collective governments need to be putting pressure on Thailand or another close country to allow us to be taken off the ship and flown home".

Passengers relax on board the Westerdam. "But each day, that becomes a little bit more hard when country after country rejects us", Ms Jones told Reuters in a video recording. "The ship has sufficient fuel and food provisions to last until the end of the voyage".

Holland America says no one on board has the virus.

The atmosphere is in stark contrast to the gloom aboard the Diamond Princess, a quarantined Japanese cruise ship riddled with the virus which has forced passengers into a depressing lockdown in cabins.

People could be seen playing chess and doing puzzles on Wednesday, in some of the first pictures published by media of life aboard the ship.

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