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Montevideo, September 26th 2023 - 07:05 UTC



Australian cruise vessel stranded in Montevideo; following medical checks, healthy passengers could be released

Friday, April 3rd 2020 - 07:58 UTC
Full article 3 comments
The Greg Mortimer came from Ushuaia in the south of Argentina and is scheduled to sail for Las Palmas, Canary Islands. The Greg Mortimer came from Ushuaia in the south of Argentina and is scheduled to sail for Las Palmas, Canary Islands.

Uruguay's foreign and public health ministers have said that none of the over 200 people on board the cruise vessel Greg Mortimer will be allowed to disembark in Montevideo for the moment since several passengers and crew members seem to have coronavirus symptoms.

Anyhow, “the decision is to provide all the necessary medical support for anybody on board” said foreign minister Ernesto Talvi. The Aurora cruise remains in the port of Montevideo sound.

Earlier this week a 69 year old Australian with high fever and respiratory insufficiency was evacuated to the Montevideo British Hospital where he tested Covid 19 positive.

“We're working with the Health ministry to find a solution for the vessel, and medical care will be provided for passengers and crew members, but the problem is the 14 day quarantine”, said foreign minister officials.

However Montevideo port authorities said preparations are ready if dismemberment takes place, “we have a peer available for that option and we have the experience of recent vessels and the humanitarian corridor to the airport of Carrasco for charters to fly people home”, anticipated officials.

The Greg Mortimer came from Ushuaia in the south of Argentina and is scheduled to sail for Las Palmas, Canary Islands.

Aurora Expeditions managing director, Robert Halfpenny in a letter to passengers said that the Covid 19 patient was in a critically ill condition, but receiving the “best care possible” in Montevideo.

The ship’s doctor and at least three crew members are among those who developed fevers, Mr Halfpenny said. Another three unwell people have since been identified with symptoms.

“While we have enormous assistance and understanding of the situation, it will not be clear cut – but we and the governments working with us know that we must find a way to get you off the ship as soon as possible,” Mr Halfpenny said in the letter.

Mr Halfpenny said in the letter that there would be comprehensive testing of all healthy passengers but warned it would be difficult to “maintain the same standard of essential services on board” due to the ill health and isolation of the crew.

A second Antarctic cruise ship, the Ocean Atlantic with about 120 Australians on board was allowed to dock at Montevideo port earlier this week and all Australian and New Zealand passengers have since flown out of Uruguay on chartered or commercial flights.

The passengers were allowed to disembark after undergoing health checks said the ship’s operator Chimu Adventures. Uruguay has implemented a humanitarian corridor policy, between the port and the international airport, following medical checks and charters waiting to evacuate passengers.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Little J

    Congratulations to the Uruguayan authorities in the manner that they are handling this humanitarian crisis.

    It certainly is a very good example that should be followed by many other Governments who have stranded vessels off their shores, and who are not allowing passengers to disembark.

    Apr 03rd, 2020 - 09:12 pm 0
  • Chicureo

    Little J

    Completely agree with your comment, especially as it seems almost all ports are now closed worldwide.

    Apr 04th, 2020 - 03:41 pm 0
  • Little J


    Unfortunately late last night the Uruguayan authorities, perhaps correctly, have apparently banned a cruise vessel anchored off the port of Montevideo from berthing as there would seem to be quite a number of passengers and crew suspected to have COVID 19 and at least one passenger has been taken ashore by a naval vessel due to his very serious health condition.
    At the moment it´s impossible to know what the final decision the authorities will take in respect of this particular ship. One would assume that they will have to take extreme measures to least land all passengers making arrangements for their quickest return home,and with least possible contact with the local population. As for the crew one would imagine that those are healthy will stay on board and the ship will have to head back to it's home base.............if allowed to dock. Time will tell.

    Apr 04th, 2020 - 08:47 pm 0
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