FL Allows Stranded Cruise Ships with COVID-19 Infected Passengers to Dock After Other Countries Wouldn’t

Four days before health officials classified COVID-19 as a pandemic, the MS Zaandam set sail on March 7, 2020, out of a Buenos Aires port. While the trip was expected to last 20 days, it was cut short after 107 passengers and 143 crew members began displaying flu-like symptoms some of which were later determined to be connected to the COVID-19 virus. Holland America, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation that oversees operations for the Zaandam, later announced that at least nine guests had tested positive for COVID-19.

Sadly, four individuals on board passed away, two of the deaths attributed to the virus, reports Time.

Less than a week after the Zaandam departed from Buenos Aires, every cruise line had temporarily suspended its operations, leaving the Zaandam in search of a place to dock. After being turned away from multiple South American countries, Holland America requested that the boat dock in Florida’s Port of Everglades. Prior to receiving clearance, the Zaandam was met by the Rotterdam, another Holland America ship, which allowed some of the healthy passengers on the Zaandam to board.

Sources say more than 300 Americans were aboard the two ships.

While US Coast Guard Sector Miami Commander Captain Jo-Ann Burdian initially said that he would not permit the ships to dock in Florida has officials did not want to put the community more at risk of contracting the virus, it was eventually decided that the ships could dock, however, certain guidelines needed to be followed. While some passengers were expected to be transferred to local hospitals, others would be allowed to disembark after they passed a health screening. For those who did not need immediate medical attention or were still displaying flu-like symptoms and deemed unfit to travel, they would be required to quarantine on board.

After a deal was made between the cruise line and Florida officials, passengers were then able to begin disembarking the ship on Thursday.


Were you recently traveling aboard a Holland America cruise ship or with another cruise line and suffered an injury or illness? Did you or a loved one contract COVID-19 during your travels?


Bringing a claim against a cruise line for the illness or injury you suffered can be difficult to do when you don’t have the right maritime attorney in Miami, FL representing you as these companies are governed by a different set of laws. If you would like to find out if you have a case against a cruise line, you are encouraged to contact Madalon Law to speak with a Miami, FL maritime lawyer now.


You can reach Madalon Law at:


100 N. Federal Highway, #CU5

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Phone: 954-923-0072

Website: www.madalonlaw.com

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