Over 3,000 people stranded in Norwegian Dawn off Mauritius – Travel And Tour World

Over 3,000 people are stranded on board a cruise ship, Norwegian Dawn off the East African island of Mauritius because of a health risk.

Following a series of gastrointestinal illnesses on board the Norwegian Dawn, the authorities in Mauritius refused to allow the ship to dock in the harbour of the capital Port Louis on Sunday, after the French island of La Reunion had already turned the ship away.

“The decision not to allow the cruise ship access to the quay was taken in order to avoid any health risks,” the Mauritius Ports Authority said in a statement.

“The health and safety of passengers as well as that of the country as a whole are of the utmost to the authorities,” it added, without giving any details about the nature of the health risk.

Southern Africa is currently experiencing one of the worst cholera outbreaks in years.

The majority of the 2,184 passengers were supposed to start their journey home on Sunday. At the same time, 2,279 new travellers were originally due to board in Port Louis, the port authority said. There are also 1,026 crew members on the ship.

Employees of the Ministry of Health took samples from around 15 people on board on Sunday morning. The results of the investigation are expected on Tuesday.

According to the authorities, at least 14 passengers and one crew member are suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting. They have been isolated in their rooms.

The US company Norwegian Cruise Line said that a small number of passengers on the Norwegian Dawn had experienced mild symptoms of stomach illness on the 12-day voyage from South Africa.

“Due to additional testing being required by local authorities before being allowed entry, the government of Mauritius has delayed disembarkation for the current cruise and embarkation for the next cruise by two days to February 27, 2024,” a statement from the company said.

In a letter dated Sunday, the captain informed passengers that they would not be leaving the ship in Port Louis for the time being.

Hygiene measures on board have been increased and all necessary measures are being taken to protect guests, crew and destinations, the company added.

According to the Miami-headquartered company, the Norwegian Dawn, which was built in 2002, has space for up to 2,340 guests and 1,032 crew members on board.

The vessel set off from South Africa on February 13 on its journey via Madagascar to La Reunion and Mauritius. The Norwegian Dawn was then due to return to South Africa with the new passengers.

On Friday, the authorities on the French island of La Reunion refused to allow the ship to dock due to the gastrointestinal illnesses.

Both the French government and the island’s regional health authority considered the health situation on board the ship to be unsatisfactory.

The authorities had suggested sending doctors on board and carrying out tests.

As a result, the shipping company decided to cancel the planned stopover and continue directly to Mauritius, the island’s prefecture explained.

For the unaware, norovirus is a highly contagious viral illness that causes gastroenteritis – inflammation of the stomach and intestines which lead to vomiting and diarrhoea.

And that’s not all. As per a CDC analysis, there have been 13 such outbreaks on cruise ships in 2023, making over 1,900 people sick, the most outbreaks the US has witnessed since 2012.

Of them all, the biggest outbreak was last June when 110 passengers on board and nine crew members reported vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps aboard the Viking Neptune.

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