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Two cruise ships not allowed to disembark in Honolulu

By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — Two cruise ships won’t be allowed to disembark in Honolulu after being turned away by other ports, even with no positive cases of coronavirus on either vessel, officials said Wednesday.

State and cruise line officials previously said passengers would disembark at Honolulu Harbor. However, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who was running for president, said during a telephone town hall Wednesday that the state Department of Transportation “made the difficult, but correct, decision to only allow the Maasdam and Norwegian Jewel cruise vessels . . . to come into port solely to take on fuel and resupply, in Honolulu Harbor.”

The Maasdam, operated by Holland America Line, had its port call canceled in Hilo and is set to arrive today to Honolulu Harbor, state officials said. It has 842 guests and 542 crew members.

Norwegian Cruise Line said one of its vessels that was turned away by Fiji and New Zealand is expected to arrive to Honolulu on Sunday. The Norwegian Jewel, with about 1,700 passengers, refueled in American Samoa but was not allowed to disembark at the Port of Pago Pago.

The cruise lines didn’t immediately comment on Hawaii’s reversal.

New measures to seal borders to reduce the spread of the coronavirus have left some cruise ships stranded as local governments deny permission to disembark.

Two vessels were rerouted to Miami after they were turned away from their home port in Puerto Rico, even with no reports of infections. Authorities in Argentina, Chile and Brazil placed ships on quarantine after reports of positive coronavirus tests.

The Cruise Lines International Association said about 40 ships with 90,000 passengers were at sea when President Donald Trump announced a ban last week that restricts travel by many foreigners to the U.S.