Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has confirmed that the‘Braemar’ is now sailing to Cuba where guests will be repatriated back to the UK by air.
“We are working with the (UK) Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) towards a Wednesday departure, but details are still being confirmed and this may change. We will update our guests as soon as we have more information,” the company said in a statement.
Yesterday, the FCO confirmed that flights from Cuba are being planned for passengers on board ‘Braemar’ – which had been at anchor in The Bahamas, having been refused entry due to around five guests being diagnosed with COVID-19 and 22 were confined to their cabins with flue like symptons.
The FCO has issued a questionnaire to passengers on board in order to gather the necessary information to get them home.
An FCO spokesperson said: “We are working around the clock to arrange evacuation flights from Cuba to the UK as soon as possible for passengers on the ‘Braemar’ cruise ship.“The evacuation is being co-ordinated with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and we advise that all passengers follow their instructions.We continue to update British passengers as the plans progress.”
A dedicated ‘Braemar’ Relative Support Team has been set up at Fred. Olsen’s UK Head Office in Ipswich to give a direct point of contact for those who have relatives on board.
In the European ferry sector, Brittany Ferries has suspended some sailings to Spain, while DFDS has stopped the core Oslo/Copenhagen operation.
“We had hoped to be able to continue with the changes we had introduced to meet the Danish government’s measures, but now the Norwegian government has introduced new measures. This means that passengers will have to quarantine for 14 days upon entry into Norway if they have been outside the Nordic countries in the period after 27thFebruary,” Kasper Moos, VP and Head of DFDS’ passenger business, said in a statement.
In addition, Estonian Tallink Grupp stopped operating the Riga/Stockholm passenger route from 16thMarch until further notice. The two ships operating on the route will remain in Riga until the the route is restored.
“Cargo transport will be available on the company’s Paldiski/Kappelskär route vessel ‘Regal Star’, providing the land border between Estonia and Latvia enables border crossing,” Tallink Grupp said.
On 15thMarch, Tallink said the Tallinn/Helsinki route vessels ‘Megastar’, ‘Star’ and ‘Silja Europa’ and its Muuga/Vuosaari route vessel‘Seawind’will continue to operate on their normal schedules, as will the Helsinki/Stockholm and Turku/Stockholm routes.
Spanish ferry operator Baleària, said it is co-operating with the relevant authorities and will follow their instructions for the company’s ferry services.
Baleària has so far modified its services on Ibiza/Formentera, Ceuta/Algeciras and Valencia/Mostaganem routes.
Due to the Moroccan government’s decision to halt traffic with Spain, Baleària has suspended passenger departures on the Algeciras/Tangier Med and Almeria/Nador routes.
Greek passenger ferry operations in the Adriatic were also suspended, due to the deteriorating situation in Italy, although freight will still be carried.