Scientologists' Cruise Ship Quarantined for Measles
The Church of Scientology's cruise ship, the Freewinds, has been quarantined at the port of St. Lucia after the local government learned of a confirmed case of measles on board.
The Freewinds reportedly has 300 passengers and crewmembers on board, and one female passenger has been diagnosed with measles. St. Lucia's coast guard confirmed the vessel's identity to American media.
The government of St. Lucia has explained that the quarantine is a precautionary measure. "There are outbreaks of measles [in America] largely because persons have not taken the vaccine," said St. Lucia's chief medical officer, Dr. Merlene Fredericks, in a videotaped address. She noted that measles is highly contagious, and said that after extensive deliberations, "we thought it prudent that we quarantine the ship."
According to Dr. Fredericks, the patient on board Freewinds is in stable condition and is in isolation.
Freewinds is presently moored at Point Seraphine at the port of Castries, according to AIS tracking. She is in quarantine but has not been detained, according to Dr. Fredericks, and while her crew cannot disembark, the vessel could depart for another destination if her operator chose.
The U.S.-based Church of Scientology has owned the Freewinds (ex name Bohème) since 1986. The group uses the vessel for themed cruises and for administering the top levels of its structured program of spiritual certification.
"The most advanced [Operating Thetan] level (New OT VIII) is exclusively entrusted to the [Freewinds]," Scientology says on its website. "To a Scientologist, boarding the Freewinds . . is the most significant spiritual accomplishment of his lifetime and brings with it the full realization of his immortality."