Cruise Ship That Sparked Coronavirus Outrage To Stay In Charleston Until May 11

Two weeks ago, the cruise ship released more than 2,400 passengers who were not properly screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

Two weeks ago, a cruise ship sparked public outrage when it let off 2,400 passengers —who were not properly screened for Coronavirus— into the Port of Charleston.

That same cruise ship, the Carnival Sunshine, will remain at Columbus Street Terminal in Charleston, South Carolina until May 11, according to a press release from South Carolina Ports Authority.

Earlier Monday, Carnival announced its plans to pause all operations until May 11.

“This voluntary cessation was made to support the efforts by public officials to manage COVID-19’s impact on global health and commerce,” the S.C. Ports release said.

More than 1,100 crew members have stayed on board for more than 14 days, the Post and Courier reported Monday.

S.C. Ports reports that crew members “remain healthy” and have had their temperatures monitored daily.

Crew members will stay on board “except in the event of a medical emergency, which would be coordinated with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and local authorities,” the release said.

“Over the coming weeks, should Carnival disembark crew members so they can return home, that will be done in coordination with authorities and with the cruise line providing transportation from the ship directly to a designated airport,” the S.C. Ports release said.

The cruise ship will sail out of the harbor periodically “for the lawful disposal of gray water and to take on water for their needs,” the release said.

Charleston County has the highest amount of COVID-19 cases in the state with 123 positive cases. South Carolina now has 925 total coronavirus cases.

Two weeks ago, the ship sparked outrage among residents and lawmakers when federal officials made the decision not to screen passengers before they arrived in Charleston.

Senator Sandy Senn said before the Carnival Cruise ship arrived, she spoke with port officials “who ensured that passengers would be properly screened, and temperatures would be taken.”

A Carnival spokesperson told Senn in an email that the cruise line was planning on screening passengers, but was then advised against it by Dr. Katherine Richardson of South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC).

Richardson told Carnival officials that the “CDC recommended against screening of passengers and crew prior to disembarkation,” according to the email exchange.

The Carnival Sunshine had returned from Nassau, Bahamas, where one coronavirus case has been reported so far.

“I am not a disease expert, but a decision to dump 2,441 unscreened passengers into Charleston seems unwise given that they had all been on a boat together for four days and there is a ban on group gatherings of 50 or more,” Senn said in a newsletter.

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