Cruise ship Freewinds (IMO 6810811) has returned to her home port in Netherlands territory Curacao, where she will remain in quarantine while the majority of those on board undergo tests for measles.
The vessel was quarantined in St. Lucia for four days after a confirmed case of measles was reported. A female crewmember with the highly infectious illness was said to be in a stable condition and to be staying in isolation on board. No new cases of the disease have been reported on board and the female patient has since recovered.
None of the ship’s crew or passengers was allowed to disembark in St Lucia, but the vessel was not detained. Freewinds left St Lucia late on Thursday May 2nd and returned to Curacao on April 4th.
Local health authorities then boarded to interview the crew. There were 41 individuals who could prove their vaccination status; they were allowed to disembark. The remaining 277 people on board gave blood samples, which have been sent to the Netherlands for testing. The results were due back by today, May 8th. Curacao will consult with the Pan American Health Organization about possible next steps. Until then the 277 will remain in quarantine.
Curacao’s chief epidemiologist Izzy Gerstenbluth said that a single person had contracted the ilness while in Europe and that there was no outbreak as such of measles on the boat.
US-based Church of Scientology has owned Freewinds since 1986 and uses the vessel as a floating “religious retreat ministering the most advanced level of spiritual counselling in the Scientology religion.”
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.