St. Lucia in the Caribbean has imposed a quarantine on visiting cruise ship Freewinds (IMO 6810811) after a case of measles was diagnosed on board, the island’s chief medical officer Merlene Frederick-James said. Neither passengers nor crew can leave the vessel while she is in port,.
Merlene Frederick-James said that the St. Lucia Ministry of Health ordered the restriction after conferring with the Pan American Health Organization and others about the risk of exposure to islanders.
She said that the ministry learned of the confirmed measles case from “two reputable sources,” and, given the current measles outbreaks in the US, “we thought it prudent that we quarantine the ship”. She gave no information about the ship or its origins.
St. Lucia has confirmed that the vessel is the Freewinds, a 440ft vessel linked to the Church of Scientology.
Freewinds was in quarantine, but had not been detained, according to Dr Fredericks. The crew would not be allowed disembark, but the vessel would not be stopped from departing.
The Church of Scientology website describes the Freewinds as a floating “religious retreat ministering the most advanced level of spiritual counselling in the Scientology religion.” It says its home port is Curacao.
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.