Cruise ship with 229 ill passengers and crew docked in Singapore before continuing journey

A photo taken in 2013 shows the cruise ship, MV Sun Princess, docked at Marina Bay Cruise Centre.
A photo taken in 2013 shows the cruise ship, MV Sun Princess, docked at Marina Bay Cruise Centre.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) told The New Paper on Friday (Nov 15) that 229 passengers and crew on board the cruise ship, MV Sun Princess, had come down with gastrointestinal illness.

TNP had reported earlier that the cruise ship from Australia had decided to disembark all 2,000 passengers when those affected fell ill, showing symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea. MPA said it had been informed on Monday at 11am.

The port authority said of those affected, 189 have recovered. Of the remaining affected passengers and crew, 16 passengers had disembarked and terminated their cruise in Singapore.

MPA said the cruise ship, which was in transit to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, had arrived in Singapore on Wednesday at around 5.30am from Phuket, Thailand.

There were no Singaporeans among the affected passengers and crew when the vessel arrived here.

MPA added that there was no mass evacuation of the Sun Princess in Singapore and most of the passengers had disembarked for a day tour here.

The MPA, Ministry of Health (MOH), and Singapore Food Agency (SFA) conducted a joint inspection of the cruise ship on Wednesday.

MOH also worked with the cruise operator to ensure that proper infection prevention and control actions have been implemented, and provided a health advisory to all passengers to look out for symptoms of disease, how to protect oneself and prevent further transmission before disembarkation.

 
 
 
 

Disembarking passengers were also advised to seek medical care if unwell.

The port agent arranged for the affected passengers to be assessed by a medical practitioner upon disembarkation to ensure that they were fit for onward travel.

MPA said the ship departed Singapore on Wednesday at about 5.25pm for Ho Chi Minh City with 906 transit passengers, 1,092 new passengers, and 864 crew members.

A spokesman for Princess Cruises, which operates the ship, told TNP on Thursday that guests started reporting gastrointestinal symptoms en route to Singapore.

It was confirmed as being caused by the norovirus. A norovirus outbreak typically involves diarrhoea and vomiting.

"The vast majority of the 2,000 guests on Sun Princess were unaffected, but it takes relatively few cases of illness to be reported for onboard sanitation measures to be increased," said the spokesman.

"Out of an abundance of care and in line with best practice, extra cleaning... was also carried out. Guests remain isolated while they have symptoms."

Australian news outlet Perth Now reported that crew members made the decision to disembark all passengers while docked at Singapore so that the ship could be fumigated.