Singapore allows cruise ship turned away by Malaysia, Thailand over virus fears

Source: Reuters

SINGAPORE, March 9 (Reuters) – Singapore will allow cruise ship Costa Fortuna to dock in the city-state on Tuesday, authorities said, after it was turned away from ports in Malaysia and Thailand over coronavirus fears.

Costa Fortuna departed from Singapore, where it is home-ported, on March 3.

Italian cruise line Costa Crociere said there were no suspected virus cases among its guests, which includes Italians. Italy has the largest number of cases of the virus outside China with 7,375 infections.

The operator said the ship was not allowed to enter Penang port in Malaysia due to restrictions on Italian travellers and it was not allowed to stop in Thailand due to unspecified travel restrictions.

However, the ship, which was on the first leg of the trip, did make a first stop in Langkawi, Malaysia, last week, local media reported.

Costa Crociere said it would cancel a cruise due to depart on March 10 from Singapore.

All passengers entering Singapore would have to undergo temperature screening, while some may have to do a swab test for the virus, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and Singapore Tourism Board said in a joint statement.

Singapore’s cruise terminals remain open to scheduled cruise calls out of Singapore. Unscheduled calls have not been allowed since Feb. 24, the authorities said.

In recent weeks, journeys on other cruise ships have also been disrupted due to worries over the spread of the virus.

MS Westerdam, operated by Carnival Corp’s Holland America Line, was allowed to dock in Cambodia’s Sihanoukville in mid-February having been turned away at five other ports after it set sail from Hong Kong on Feb. 1.

Diamond Princess, another cruise ship owned by Carnival, had been quarantined off the coast of Japan in February and was for a time the largest concentration of coronavirus cases outside China. (Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and John Geddie in Singapore; Editing by Kim Coghill and Michael Perry)