STATEMENT| Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines can confirm that our ship Braemar has arrived in The Bahamas, where it has been offered ‘safe haven’ to take on food, fuel, medication and other supplies for those on board.
At around 9am local time (1pm UK time) today, Saturday 14th March 2020, the ship will drop anchor approximately 25 miles south west of Freeport, where it will restock. Braemar will restock the ship’s own Medical Centre, as well as guests’ own repeat prescriptions. A doctor and nurse are scheduled to join the ship to support the existing medical team.
The logistics of getting these items on board is a complex operation, and Braemar will remain at anchorage throughout this process. Two Foreign and Commonwealth officers have flown out to Freeport from the UK to offer support to authorities in The Bahamas to ensure that this operation is conducted as quickly as possible.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also written letters to all British nationals on board, which are being delivered this morning, advising them to follow the guidance of Fred. Olsen while work continues to get guests home as soon as possible.
This letter includes contact details for a dedicated Relative Support team, which has been set up at Fred. Olsen’s UK Head Office today (Saturday 14th March 2020) to give a direct point of contact for those who have relatives on board.
The Relative Support team can be reached by calling +44 (0) 1473 292350. This will be staffed from 2pm – 8pm UK time today (Saturday, 14th March 2020), and from 8am – 8pm on all other days.
Fred. Olsen would like to re-iterate that we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation with the global outbreak COVID-19 Coronavirus and we are working around the clock to ensure the safety and comfort of our guests.
On Wednesday 11th March 2020, while docked in Willemstad, Curaçao, five people on board Braemar tested positive for COVID-19 Coronavirus (four crew and one guest).
This meant that the ship was unable to dock in Barbados on Thursday 12th March 2020, at the end of its ‘Western Caribbean & Central America’ (M2005) cruise. No other Caribbean ports were willing to accept the ship because of local sensitivities towards COVID-19 Coronavirus.
We took the decision to change course and head to The Bahamas, which is our Flag State, with the intention of getting everyone home from there.
All guests on board have been given free calls and WiFi so that they can communicate with friends and relatives at home. All guests have also received a free all-inclusive drinks package.
The Captain and crew are doing everything that they can to communicate the situation to our guests, and to ensure that their time on board is as comfortable as possible.
On the advice of Public Health England, there is currently no requirement for guests to stay in their cabins, but we are making it possible for those who wish to do so. We are adhering to strict guidelines to maintain hygiene. We are asking guests to keep a reasonable distance from each other and crew members, as much as possible.