One Suspected COVID-19 Case On Cruise Ship Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin at the pier in Papeete (file image courtesy Paul Gauguin Cruises)

Published Aug 2, 2020 11:37 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday, one suspected case of COVID-19 was detected aboard the cruise ship Paul Gauguin. The vessel had just resumed service for regional passengers in mid-July, and she was on her first voyage with international customers since the beginning of the coronavirus shutdown. 

When the suspected case was discovered, all passengers were informed and asked to stay in their cabins. The vessel suspended her itinerary and returned to her home port at Papeete, Tahiti, arriving and mooring at the main cruise terminal on Sunday morning. 

The French Polynesia High Commission has taken charge of the incident, and its public health response team has initiated a contact-tracing investigation to determine who may have been exposed to the passenger in question. About 148 passengers and 192 crew members are on board; the vessel also made a call in Bora Bora during her short voyage, and the passengers were permitted to interact with the local population during the call, according to France Info 1.

Before the cruise, the operator had implemented extensive precautionary measures, including mandatory testing prior to embarkation for international travelers, a health declaration form, a medical screening and a luggage disinfection protocol. 

The news of the suspected case on board Paul Gauguin comes as Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten - one of the first lines to reopen - is dealing with an outbreak of its own. After several crewmembers aboard the cruise ship Roald Amundsen tested positive in Tromso, Norway last week, comprehensive testing revealed that at least 36 crewmembers and four passengers had contracted the virus. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) predicts that the number will grow.