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Westerdam finds refuge – in ‘humane’ Cambodia

Feb 13. 2020
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By The Nation

Cambodia has allowed the Westerdam cruise ship to dock out of humanitarian interest after it had been turned away by a string of other countries and territories, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Thursday (February 13).

“Where are they supposed to go?” he asked. “This is an expression of humanity by Cambodia and demonstrates our commitment to the world. We will look after other nations. If other countries cannot accept them, Cambodia will accept them.”

The Westerdam docked at Sihanoukville at 7 am on Thursday and will remain in port for several days, with the 1,455 passengers and 802 crewmembers allowed to disembark.

Cambodia’s health minister said medical staff and supplies were being prepared should any of the passengers require attention.

The Holland America Line, the owner of the ship, said Cambodia welcomed the Westerdam after it was refused entry in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippine and the US territory of Guam due to concern that passengers or crew onboard might be infected with the coronavirus COVID-19.

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