MIAMI – About 90 international passengers remain aboard the Coral Princess ship at PortMiami, as others left Tuesday on nine additional domestic charter flights, a spokesperson for Princess Cruises said.
Princess Cruises confirmed two people on board died while the ship was at sea and there were 12 cases of the new coronavirus. A third passenger, Wilson Maa, of California, died at a Hialeah hospital Saturday night after waiting for hours to be taken off the ship.
The cruise line said 545 guests disembarked Coral Princess on Sunday and another 139 left Monday, leaving 274 on board.
According to the spokesperson, Coral Princess departed March 5 from San Antonio (Santiago) for a South America voyage, which was scheduled to end in Buenos Aires on March 19.
“In response to the global spread of COVID-19, Princess Cruises announced a voluntary 60-day pause of operations on March 12, becoming one of the first companies in the leisure travel industry to take this proactive measure,” the spokesperson said. “Coral Princess remained in service longer than previously expected, until arriving at the Port of Miami, due to a series of port closures, airline cancellations and other actions taken, which impacted the onward travel home of the guests and crew onboard.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Florida, has called for an investigation by local authorities into Maa’s death.
“Families and individuals should not be abandoned during medical emergencies or left pleading for help,” she said. “I truly do believe it needs to be investigated.”
Gimenez said the initial investigation indicates that the cruise ship did not follow protocol and call 911.
“They were waiting for a hospital bed to open up, and that’s not with our guidelines,” he said.