A cruise, the Corona virus
and the evacuation in Dubai
A report by Markus Sell, Captain CSLI
The daily routine aboard on the high seas in times of Corona and the unplanned travel interruption in the Emirates merged into an exciting melange when in March 2020 Senior Commander CSLI NC Dr. Thomas Draxler took up another order on a cruise ship as “Edutainer”. His task was to impart knowledge in the health and prevention sector to the approximately 2000 guests. The trip was planned from 02nd to 27th March 2020 with destinations Mauritius, La Réunion, Seychelles, Oman, Jordan, Israel, Cyprus and Heraklion in Greece. The early travel interruption at the end of nine days before reaching the destination port was due to the omnipresent Corona pandemic.
Dr.Draxler, second from right
A day late, as a drone was spotted at Frankfurt Airport, SCMDR Draxler went aboard in Port Louis, Mauritius, and obtained the captain’s permit to wear the uniform. The fever measurement of the authorities gave the green light for departure. 1.100 guests finished their trip and 1.000 new passengers went aboard after a stop on La Réunion and two days on the Seychelles. The ship was fully occupied with about 2.500 people aboard. Corona crisis causes numerous port closuresNow the authorities on the Seychelles have imposed a curfew and no one was allowed to leave the ship. The captain then decided to continue the trip to Salalah, Oman.
This local port was also closed due to the current Corona situation and so the cruise ship steered towards Egypt and Jordan. After the cancellations for docking reached the bridge the route was again changed towards Muscat. It was essential to find a port to get fuel and food supplies. Since also in Muscat no anchorage was possible the captain decided enter Dubai. The German Embassy, the Sheik of Dubai and the shipping company entered into negotiations,with the result that after one day lying in the roads the ship was given an anchorage and fuel could be picked up.
The decision was made to evacuate all guests and to organize the flights home. The first 400 guests were taken to the airport. In the evening, however, 160 of them were sent back to the ship. In the next few days all guests could leave Dubai on different flight routes – partly via Great Britain with overnight stay. If all this had not been possible, the emergency schedule to Hamburg would have reached used to disembark the passengers there.
The whole crew with its captain acted exemplarily and was able to meet the mood swings and uncertainties aboard professionally.
Dr. Thomas Draxler expanded his planned complementary medical lectures to include the topics of immune system and the handling with fear and insecurity. He also had the opportunity to present the work of the Lazarus Union in a lecture in the fully occupied theatre aboard.
The mission of comrade Thomas ended on 18th March 2020 and the next order was already given to him by the shipping company.
Markus Sell, Captain CSLI