10 Feb 2020

Samoa welcomes first cruise ship since measles outbreak

11:33 am on 10 February 2020

Samoa has welcomed its first cruise ship since the country's measles outbreak started late last year.

Apia's town clock.

Apia's town clock. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Jenny Meyer

The German-registered MS Albatros sailed into the port of Apia last Wednesday after it faced health inspections by Samoa Health Authorities in mid ocean about 4km out of Apia.

Newsline Samoa reports it took more than an hour for the health inspection of the more than 800 passengers and crew on board.

According to the Director General of Health, Leausa Take Naseri, meeting the ship at sea was necessary as it was already close to Samoa.

He said MOH had adopted an out of port border control prevention policy, where any cruise ships wishing to call into Samoa are inspected at the last port of call before sailing here.

Leausa Take Naseri

Leausa Take Naseri Photo: RNZ Pacific / Autagavai Tipi Autagavai

He said an agreement with local travel and shipping agents allowing health officials to fly and test passengers before travelling here.

"We were unable to do that with the MS Albatros because it was already on its way to Samoa before we adopted the new policy, so we have to board and inspect here at the two and a half mile buoy."

The MS Albatros set sail for its next destination after just over half a day in Samoa.