Weyburn couple on a cruise ship without a port

Fears of coronavirus causes ship to be turned away

A Weyburn couple, Tom and Marilyn Schuck, are at sea on the cruise ship Westerdam, and are not sure how they will be able to get home.

In a message from Marilyn on Saturday, she said, “Tom and I are on this ship which has been wandering in the East China Sea because our ports of call in Manila, Taiwan and Japan will not let us in due to the fact that we picked up passengers in Hong Kong. Today, Saturday, we still don’t know how we are to get back home.”

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The ship has been turned away from port out of fear of the coronavirus, a fear which has forced two other cruise ships to be quarantined. There are no staff or passengers on the Westerdam known to have the virus, reported CNN on Saturday, while the Diamond Princess is at dock in Japan and the World Dream is docked in Hong Kong, both with infected passengers.

The MS Westerdam has 1,455 passengers and 802 crew for a total of 2,257 people, operated by Holland America, and has been turned away from four ports so far from fears of the coronavirus. In media reports, Holland America has stated there is no known case of the virus on their ship.

One of the ports was Manila, Philippines, where the government decided to ban all travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau since the first death from coronavirus outside of China occurred in the Philippines. The Westerdam is carrying passengers from Hong Kong.

The ship was on a 14-day East Asia cruise that left Hong Kong on Feb. 1.

Marilyn added, “We are not under quarantine so life on the ship is comfortable. Our cruise has officially been cancelled, but the problem is getting home.”

As of Saturday, China reported 86 new deaths to bring their total of 722, with 34,546 cases of coronavirus reported in 28 countries since Dec. 31.