Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail speaks to reporters after a press conference in Kuala Lumpur February 9, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Covid-19: DPM confirms foreign ships refusing to share essential info barred from docking in Malaysia


PUTRAJAYA, Feb 14 — Malaysia will not allow any foreign vessel that refuses to share essential information to dock in the country, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today amid reports of recent attempts by two Hong Kong cruise ships.

The deputy prime minister said the decision was made in light of the infectious coronavirus outbreak worldwide.

“The government has decided not to allow any such foreign vessel to dock in Malaysian waters if it refuses to share the essential information required by the Malaysian authorities,” she told reporters after chairing a special high-level committee on the Covid-19 national cluster at the Prime Minister's Department here.

She said one of the cruise ships called Westerdam that is carrying 1,000 passengers initially tried to dock in Malaysia had gone to Hong Kong, and Taiwan on February 1 and gained permission to dock in Vietnam yesterday.

The other, called Sapphire Princess, has been allowed to dock in Singapore.

Reuters cited satellite data tracking by the Marine Traffic website that showed the Westerdam reaching Cambodia yesterday. Before that, the ship was at sea for two weeks after being turned away by five countries over fears that someone aboard may have the coronavirus.

The cruise liner reportedly anchored in the Cambodian port town of Sihanoukville.

No passenger aboard had been reported ill, but the ship was turned away by Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Thailand over fears that someone on the cruise could have the new flu-like virus that has killed more than 1,300 people, almost all of them in China.

The Sapphire Princess has cancelled its regional route and is currently docked in Singapore.

Fears over cruise ships carrying the virus emerged after dozens of passengers aboard the Diamond Princess fell ill. It is now under quarantine off the coast of Japan, with more than 200 passengers now confirmed to have the novel coronavirus.