Mauritius blocks Norwegian Cruise Line ship over cholera fears

Mauritius blocks Norwegian Cruise Line ship over cholera fears

Mauritius blocks Norwegian Cruise Line ship over cholera fears

The first cruise ship, ‘Norwegian Dawn’ to arrive at Portland Port since the arrival of the Bibby Stockholm immigration barge, is seen docking, on July 26, 2023 in Portland, England.

Finnbarr Webster | Getty Images News | Getty Images

A Norwegian cruise ship has been denied permission to dock in Mauritius over fears of a potential cholera outbreak on board.

Local authorities on Sunday denied permission for the Norwegian Dawn vessel, which has 2,184 passengers and 1,026 crew on board, to access the Mauritius capital of Port Louis, citing “potential health risks.”

The ship was on a 12-day itinerary from Cape Town, South Africa to Port Louis that started on Feb. 13.

The Mauritius Ports Authority said Sunday that samples were taken from at least 15 passengers on board. These passengers had been placed in isolation on board the vessel “due to the state of their health,” the port authority said, according to a Google translation.

“As the test results will only be known in approximately 48 hours, passengers who were due to board the ‘Norwegian Dawn’ and begin their cruise from Mauritius today 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 said.

A spokesperson for the U.S.-headquartered Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said Sunday that “a small number of guests experienced mild symptoms of a stomach-related illness” during Norwegian Dawn’s South Africa voyage.

On returning to Port Louis, the spokesperson said the vessel’s management team met with local authorities to confirm that precautionary measures were being taken to ensure the wellbeing of those on board.

Multiple media outlets reported the stomach illness on board the ship was suspected to be cholera.

“The health and safety of our guests, crew and the destinations we visit is our top priority. We operate at the highest public health and sanitation standards, and encourage our guests to practice good hygiene and to report any illness-related symptoms to the onboard medical team immediately,” the spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said.

“Additionally, we have elevated our sanitation procedures aboard the ship as part of our routine measures to ensure a safe environment for all on board and will continue to take any necessary measures to protect our guests, crew and destinations we visit,” they added.

What is cholera?

The World Health Organization says cholera is an “extremely virulent” disease transmitted through the ingestion of contaminated food or water.

It is rare in the U.S., and infection is often mild or without symptoms, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that symptoms can also be severe. The CDC says cholera symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting and leg cramps.

Since January last year, the U.N. says that roughly 188,000 cholera cases have been reported across eight southern African countries, including 3,000 related deaths.

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