Officials in U.S., worldwide in standoff with cruise ships, as Coast Guard issues return home order

Cruise ships with passengers infected with the coronavirus or showing symptoms are being turned away at ports worldwide

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Vice President Mike Pence, Sen Rick Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sec. Homeland Security Chad Wolf, and Admiral Eric Jones following a discussion at Port Everglades concerning coronavirus issues experienced by the cruise line industry
Vice President Mike Pence, Sen Rick Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sec. Homeland Security Chad Wolf, and Admiral Eric Jones following a discussion at Port Everglades concerning coronavirus issues experienced by the cruise line industry
(Joe Raedle / Getty Images)
Last Updated:
April 1, 2020 - 11:26am

Officials in Florida remain in a standoff with two Holland cruise ships circling Port Everglades. More than 300 U.S. citizens are aboard the ships and among 1,100 other passengers. Nine passengers have tested positive for coronavirus, and almost 200 more are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis is denying the ships entry, citing an already stressed healthcare system and an exploding number of coronavirus cases in his state.

“Just to drop people off at the place where we’re having the highest number of cases right now just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” DeSantis said. Four passengers have already died.

“I’m going to do what’s right. Not only for us, but for humanity,” President Trump said. The ships have already been rejected by a number of countries, including Chile, Peru, and Argentina.

A similar standoff is currently unfolding at the port of Fremantle in Australia, where a German cruise ship is being asked to depart back to its country of origin.

The Australian Border Force has been asked to intervene and end the standoff. Passengers from the ship were largely sent by emergency plane to Frankfurt on Sunday. About 50 passengers remain hospitalized in Australia where they are being treated for coronavirus symptoms. Twelve passengers and 450 crew members remain on board the ship.

This past weekend, the U.S. Coast Guard issued new orders directing cruise ships to remain at sea indefinitely for the duration of the pandemic. Ships were instructed to prepare to send any sick passengers to the countries where the vessels are registered.