BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Two Marylanders are aboard a cruise ship that isn’t being allowed to enter a number of ports in the South Pacific amid fears of the coronavirus, their daughter told WJZ.
Jolene Atkins said her parents, Dottie and Ed Pinto, who are from Ocean City, Maryland, are stuck on a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship that has been turned away from multiple ports.
The 21-day cruise aboard the Norwegian Jewel had been set to visit Australia, New Zealand and French Polynesia before ending March 20 in Tahiti, the Pintos told their daughter.
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“What is supposed to happen next? We really don’t know,” Atkins told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren Saturday afternoon.
Atkins provided WJZ with text messages from her parents detailing their ordeal. “Many nerves are frayed. Not ours,” one message read.
The Pintos texted Atkins the ship had been turned away from ports in New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia and French Polynesia. They said the ship was told to head to port in Hawaii, a seven-day trek from their current location.
“We are not even sure they can put into a port to replenish food or fuel. So far so good. But this can escalate,” they texted Atkins.
The ship boasts a capacity of 2,376 passengers and 1,069 crew members, according to Norwegian Cruise Lines’ website.
Atkins said her parents aren’t aware of any coronavirus cases aboard the ship.
Even when the ship is able to dock, Atkins said her concerns don’t stop there.
“The bigger concern is what happens when they actually get back to the U.S.? What do we do then? How do we get them home?” she wondered.