Westerdam Cruiser barred from docking at Laem Chabang port, Chon Buri


BANGKOK – The Transport Ministry rejected a requested docking to Thailand by Westerdam cruise ship that had been turned down by many countries due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Deputy Transport Minister Atirat Ratanasate said concerned authorities discussed the report that the operator of the cruiser received approval for its planned visit to the Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri province so that its passengers could then travel to Bangkok for flights to their homeland. The plan followed rejection to its visit by Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan that were the previous destinations of the cruiser after it left Hong Kong on Feb 1.

Deputy Prime Minister/Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, Marine Department Director-General Withaya Yamuang and the management of the Laem Chabang port discussed the matter and agreed to reject the visit, Mr Atirat said.

Thai authorities received the request from the cruiser operator but had not given an answer. The company claimed the approval in social media and that led to criticisms, he said.

The Transport Ministry and the Public Health Ministry agreed with the rejection for public safety and confidence amid the coronavirus outbreak, Mr Atirat said.

“It was difficult to make the decision regarding humanitarianism… Finally the decision must be made for national security,” the deputy transport minister said.