Castries (St. Lucia-Caribbean) - The Caribbean nation of St. Lucia has imposed a quarantine on a visiting cruise ship, barring any passengers or crew from leaving the boat while in port, after a case of measles was diagnosed on board, the island’s chief medical officer said.
Dr. Merlene Frederick-James said in a video statement posted to YouTube on Tuesday that the St. Lucia Ministry of Health ordered the restriction after conferring with the Pan American Health Organization and others about the risk of exposure to islanders.
The ministry learned of the confirmed measles case from “two reputable sources,” and in light of current measles outbreaks in the United States and the highly infectious nature of the disease “we thought it prudent that we quarantine the ship,” Frederick-James said. She gave no information about the ship or its origins.
NBC News, citing a St. Lucia Coast Guard sergeant, reported the boat in question is named Freewinds, which is the name of a 440-foot vessel owned and operated by the Church of Scientology. The international vessel-monitoring website MarineTraffic.com also showed that a Panamanian-flagged passenger ship identified as SMV Freewinds docked in port near the St. Lucia capital of Castries. The website indicated the ship was headed next to the island of Dominica.