MIAMI – First responders at Coast Guard Miami Beach in full personal protective equipment helped with the medical evacuation of sick Costa Cruise Line crew members.
PortMiami says as many as 13 crew members on Costa Magica and Costa Favolosa were displaying respiratory symptoms. The Coast Guard ordered the cruise liners to remain three miles offshore.
The Coast Guard could be seen transporting crew members in small boats before Miami-Dade fire rescue personnel — trained to transport patients experiencing symptoms consistent with an infectious disease — began the process of taking them to area hospitals.
#UPDATE: Unified Command has confirmed 6 crew members from Costa Magica & 7 crew members of Costa Favolosa were transported by @MiamiDadeFire to a local area hospital. No other info is available at this time. @USCGSoutheast @PortMiami @CBPSoutheast @MiamiDadeCounty @HealthyFla— Miami-Dade County EM (@MiamiDadeEM) March 26, 2020
No passengers are on any ship, according to the Carnival-owned cruise line.
In a statement, the cruise line said that it had “struggled to find a feasible solution to allow its crewmembers to disembark in the safest condition possible and organize their trip back home,” adding that “several ports in the Caribbean had not accepted the two ships.”
City of Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo had voiced opposition to letting the crew members into South Florida.
“I’m told that in those two ships there are people that have tested positive for the virus,” Carollo said. "They’re going to be coming, and being spread out in our city is very troublesome.”
Costa is “organizing flights to Europe and Asia to repatriate the majority crew members,” the cruise line said. “According to the minimum safe manning chart, only a small number will remain on board the two ships to perform all the necessary duties.”