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Snippet from maritime press -


At 7.00 p.m. this evening (Sunday) Maritime & Coastguard Agency surveyors detained the 1975 built cruise vessel `Van Gogh at Harwich on the advice of the local Director of Public Health after a severe viral infection was reported to be rife on board the ship during its previous cruise.

The 1999 refitted, 15,402 GT ship which can carry up to 795 passengers was due to leave the port at 17.00hrs this evening bound for a seven day trip to Norway. The Marshall Island flagged ship was due to visit Bergen, Flam, Gudvangen & Rosendal. The vessel is owned by Club Cruise based in the Netherlands.

Earlier it had been reported that over 100 people were infected, including 16 of the 250 crew during its earlier voyage, and when the vessel docked earlier today 14 passengers were still suffering from the same symptoms. Two passengers were taken by ambulance to Colchester Hospitals accident and emergency unit after being taken off the ship by stretcher.

500 passengers who were on the dockside and waiting for the cruise to begin were advised to return home. The vessel is likely to be in dock for at least 48 hours whilst the vessel and its crew are monitored for the further outbreaks.

Captain Andy Rudge of the MCA who detained the ship said:

We have been in close discussion with both the local port health inspectors and the Director of Public Health during the day examining all the options for the well being of future passengers on board this vessel. We have also been in contact with the owners of the vessel and the charter company who have been made aware of our deliberations this afternoon. It is with regret that we have had to take this action, in detaining the vessel on health advice but clearly passengers health is the first priority for all concerned.
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