Cruise Lines Battling CDC Over Strict Guidelines for Crew Members

Officials from several cruise companies reportedly refused a deal presented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that would allow stranded crew members to disembark.

The deal was shut down due to concerns from the cruise lines about the cost.

According to the Miami Herald, CDC officials announced employees would be allowed to disembark and repatriate as long as the executives from impacted cruise lines sign an agreement to use private transportation and take full responsibility for any issues that arise.

Cruise line officials said the process would be “too expensive” and are now refusing to sign the agreement, leaving dozens of U.S. citizens stuck on vessels carrying an estimated 100,000 stranded crew members and passengers.

CDC officials asked cruise lines to come up with disembarkation and repatriation plans and provided guidelines, including medically screening people before they leave the ships, ensuring they don’t use public transportation, avoiding all interaction with the public while en route home and more.

Cruise line executives would then need to sign a full agreement of the terms for each person leaving the vessel, with “false or misleading statements or omissions may result in criminal and civil actions for fines, penalties, damages, and imprisonment.”

On Tuesday night, Holland America Line’s Oosterdam ship was forced to depart from the Port of Los Angeles with around 800 crew members after cruise line executives refused to meet CDC guidelines.

“Holland America nor Carnival provided the attestation despite requests from CDC,” CDC spokesperson Jasmine Reed told the Miami Herald. “The refusal of Holland America and Carnival executives to attest to safe disembarkation conditions is the reason why CDC did not approve disembarkation for the Oosterdam crew.”

The Oosterdam has now been stranded in international waters for around 45 days and will be forced to sail to Ensenada, Mexico, for possible disembarkation.

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