Westerdam cruise ship stuck in South China Sea because of Philippines coronavirus ban

Nearly 2,000 people on cruise ship Westerdam (IMO 9226891) were stuck in the South China Sea after the vessel was refused entry to the Philippines because of fears about 2019-nCoV.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has followed the US line in temporarily banning travellers from China. He has also banned visitors from Hong Kong and Macau from disembarking in the Philippines.

Holland America’s cruise Westerdam left Hong Kong on Saturday February 1st after a six-hour stay, but about 24 hours into the journey to Manila the captain announced it would not be allowed into the Philippines.

Hong Kong is not subject to the same strict travel restrictions as China and on January 28th Holland America announced that the vessel would still dock in Hong Kong for its February 1st cruise, but that the trip would finish in Yokohama, Japan, rather than Shanghai.

An undated update said that cruises from February 15th would no longer stop in Hong Kong.

The Westerdam was scheduled to arrive in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, today, Wednesday February 5th.