by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ pic by ARIF KARTONO
MALAYSIAN ports currently have no link to cruise ships originated or transited in China, Macau and Hong Kong.
Earlier this week, the government has put a temporary ban on international passenger ships which have departed or transited from Chinese ports and has prohibited the liners from docking at Malaysian ports. The ban was put in place to control the Covid-19 outbreak.
Port Klang Authority (PKA) GM Capt K Subramaniam (picture) said about 85% of cruise liners docking at Port Klang are serving the Malacca Strait route.
“None of the liners at Port Klang come from China as the country is just too far away for cruise business.
“Almost all the cruises called at Port Klang originated from Singapore and stopped at Port Klang, Penang, Langkawi, Phuket and Krabi. Occasionally, they may skip a destination but they are mainly on the route,” he told The Malaysian Reserve recently.
He added that the remaining 15% are westbound ships, of which 5% are European liners and 10% are coming from private charters.
According to PKA’s statistics, 20 passenger liners docked at Port Klang last month — 19 at Boustead Cruise Centre and one in Westports, transporting 60,995 passengers.
The port authority is expecting 135 cruise liners to dock at Port Klang this year. Last year, Port Klang had received 171 cruise ships with 378,323 passengers.
On the matter of the MS Westerdam cruise, an American couple was detected to have symptoms and brought to the Sungai Buloh Hospital for further examination. The 83-year-old woman was tested positive for Covid-19 after showing signs of pneumonia while the husband had tested negative of the flu-like virus.
The remaining MS Westerdam passengers currently stranded in Cambodia have been barred from entering Malaysia due to the close contact they had with the woman.
The MS Westerdam, operated by Carnival Corp unit Holland America Inc, had docked in Hong Kong on Jan 31 en route to the East Asian region. The ship then arrived in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, on Feb 13, bringing 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members.
The death toll from the coronavirus has reached more than 2,130 (at press time) globally, affecting 30 countries. China has found 394 new cases, bringing the country’s total number of infected patients to 74,576 nationwide.