Freewinds heading back to Curacao after measles quarantine

Cruise ship Freewinds (IMO 6810811), which had been quarantined by the island of St Lucia because of a measles outbreak, left St Lucia during the night of Thursday May 2nd, two days after arriving, and was due to arrive on Saturday back at her home port on the island of Curacao, where she will face similar restrictions.

St Lucia health officials provided 100 doses of vaccine to the ship, according to local media reports.

A team of health officers in Curacao planned to board the vessel to determine who aboard might have been exposed to a crew member diagnosed with measles, as well as ascertaining who aboard had been vaccinated against the disease.

Dr Izzy Gerstenbluth, chief epidemiologist for the Curacao Biomedical and Health Research Institute, said passengers and crew who could prove they were vaccinated or who had suffered the disease when younger would probably be allowed to disembark.

Others would likely be restricted from leaving the vessel for the duration of the incubation period, which can last up to 21 days after exposure, with infected individuals most contagious from four days before the onset of any measles rash – during which time the infected experiences cold-like symptoms – up to four days after the rash appears.

The infected crew member apparently had travelled to Europe and rejoined the ship on April 17th, then reported feeling ill on April 22nd. She remained on the vessel after a blood sample taken several days later came back positive for measles, by which time the ship was already en route to St. Lucia.

There were thought to be 318 passengers and crew on board the ship.

1968-built, Panama-flagged, 9,780 gt Freewinds (formerly the Bohème) is owned by San Donato Properties Corp care of Cruise Management International of Miami, Florida. San Donato Properties Panama has no staff. It is owned by East Grinstead, UK-based Flag Ship Trust, which has conducted a number of financial transactions with the Church of Scientology and which shares an address with the Church’s UK (and formerly global) headquarters, which was also for several years the home of L Ron Hubbard, science fiction writer and founder of the Church of Scientology.