Four passengers die on board MS Zaandam – a cruise ship stranded near Panama

Panama City: Cruise ship stranded off the Pacific coast of South America and carrying crew and passengers with flu-like symptoms, has reported that its four ‘older’ guests have died.

“Holland America Line can confirm that four older guests have passed away on Zaandam,” the Dutch-owned company said in a statement.

Cruise operator Holland America has clarified that, “Currently, 53 guests (4%) and 85 crew (14%) have reported to Zaandam’s medical centre with influenza-like illness symptoms. There are 1,243 guests and 586 crew on board.”

MS Zaandam with 1,800 passengers on board, is currently about eight miles off the west coast of Panama, according to the Panamanian government. It is trying to head to Florida, but to get there, it must pass through the Panama Canal.
Another cruise liner, the Rotterdam, carrying COVID-19 test kits, supplies and relief staff has been sent to assist the Zaandam, stranded in Panamanian waters.

The Zaandam liner left Buenos Aires on March 7 and was supposed to arrive last Saturday at San Antonio, near Santiago in Chile and had been denied entry by several ports after reporting that 42 people on board were suffering from flu-like symptoms.

The Zaandam is not the only cruise ship in limbo because of the coronavirus. Cruise Lines International Association said at least 14 ocean-going ships worldwide are completing journeys or awaiting disembarkation