A cruise ship carrying about 920 passengers was expected to dock at Piraeus port near Athens, after 12 of its crew members tested positive for the coronavirus, an official at Greece’s Civil Protection agency said on Monday.
The Mein Shiff 6, operated by TUI Cruises, departed from Heraklion in Crete on Sunday with all passengers having tested negative before boarding.
But sample tests on 150 crew members out of a total of 666, detected 12 infections. They were immediately isolated. The ship’s operators said six of the 12 had since tested negative.
“They are all asymptomatic,” the civil protection official said.
The Maltese-flagged ship had been en route to Corfu via Piraeus. As soon as the diagnoses came in, its captain halted the voyage and moored the vessel off the Aegean isle of Milos. Authorities in Athens later instructed him to make straight for the capital’s port city.
Greek media said all 922 of the ship’s passengers would be confined to their cabins for the duration of the journey.
However Tui, operating the luxury liner in conjunction with the US firm Royal Caribbean, denied that passengers were constricted in their movements.
Sabine Lueke, a spokeswoman for Tui, said: “They can use the ship in the normal way. The cruise will go on as planned.”
The vessel is expected to dock at Pireaus at 0200 GMT and Greek health authorities will board the vessel and conduct repeat tests to the 12 crew members.
Officials indicated no one would be allowed to disembark.