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Coast Guard working to bring cruise ships with ill passengers to Florida

Seminole County couple on board said they’re giving up hope

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A Seminole County couple stranded on board a Holland America cruise ship said they want to be able to dock in Florida.

Laura Gabaroni and Juan Huergo said they have been trapped on board the Zaandam cruiseliner since they departed Argentina on March 7.

Four people on board have died, two of them from complications of coronavirus.

Nine passengers have tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 100 are sick.

The couple said they are healthy.

They said they were transferred to another ship -- the Rotterdam -- on Saturday with other healthy passengers.

"(We're) just increasingly discouraged of not really knowing what’s going to happen to us," she told News 6.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has expressed his concerns about both ships docking along the Florida coast.

He repeated his concerns on Tuesday.

"To just to drop off people at the place where we're having the highest number of cases right now just doesn't make a whole lot of sense," he told reporters.

He said he's conferring with President Trump about what to do.

"You know, I'm going to do what's right," the president said. "Not only for us, but for humanity."

On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard said they were working with state, local and federal officials to develop a plan that would have the ships dock.

Where they would dock was uncertain.

Holland America leaders said the itinerary had the ships arriving in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday.

"Our military motto is 'leave no man behind. Please adhere to that," Gabaroni said.

Holland America president Orlando Ashford issued a statement on Tuesday: “The COVID-19 situation is one of the most urgent tests of our common humanity. To slam the door in the face of these people betrays our deepest human values.”


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