Last week we reported on a norovirus outbreak on the Fred Olsen cruise ship, Black Watch, while sailing to Russia. The cruise ship's sickened passengers dubbed the ship the "Black Death." One ill cruise passengers was quoted saying:
“The staff marked doors of those infected with a cross. It was like the Dark Ages. Forget the Black Watch – we were on the Black Death plague ship.”
Well the so-called "plague" continues. The Daily Record says that 72 people on the latest cruise aboard the Black Watch have been struck down with the same sickness causing nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
The cruise line confirmed to the newspaper that 112 passengers on the August 18th cruise became sick, and then 59 more passengers fell ill on a September 1st cruise to Norway. That means that 234 passengers have become ill on the last three cruises on this cruise ship which carries less than 750 passengers.
According to the Daily Record, one poor passenger said:
“Norovirus was rife. The sauna, jacuzzi, casino, buffet and cinema – all the facilities we had paid for – were closed, as were all the public toilets."
“In my opinion, this ship should never have been allowed to leave . . . It should have been docked until it was free of the bug.”
There's no excuse having three consecutive noro outbreaks which average over 10% of the passengers (the article doesn't mention the sick crew).
The business model of all the cruise lines keeps the ships running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There's is no time for a systematic, scientific inspection to determine the actual cause of the norovirus and to determine when and how it is was introduced onto the ship, whether by food, water or a previously-sick passenger. "Enhanced cleaning" of everything, when the virus may have been brought aboard in lettuce or sprouts, is pointless. Cruise lines are quick to blame the passengers for not washing their hands, but the real culprit could be contaminated food, water or an ill crew member.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Ra Boe