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Stranded British tourists take charter plane home from Merida airport

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British passengers are transferred from a cruise ship off the Yucatecan coast to a Navy dock at Yucalpetén. Photo: Facebook

Merida, Yucatan — Forty-nine British citizens were allowed to disembark from a cruise ship and head to the Merida airport to fly home on a chartered plane, the federal government said today.

The Mexican Navy removed an elderly passenger in critical condition from the Marella Explorer 2 for emergency treatment ashore. The ship was anchored off the port of Progreso after being stranded in Barbados.

The passengers taken off the ship Wednesday were transported to the capital city and put on a chartered flight to London. The incident was reported by The Associated Press after the ship reported a crew member tested positive for COVID-19.

The ship’s captain then had difficulty finding a port that would accept the 1,900-passenger ship.

Health precautions were taken, the Mexican government said, without mentioning if the passengers were suspected of having contracted the coronavirus.

The Mexican and British governments coordinated both operations with the cruise ship operator, Marella Cruises, part of British company TUI Travel.

Many of the ship’s passengers disembarked and returned to their home countries last week. It was unclear how many were still aboard today.

The Mexican government has allowed cruise ships to dock in the past and disembark passengers or crew for humanitarian reasons. The ship was on a seven-day Caribbean island cruise scheduled to end April 5. Puerto Progreso was not a scheduled port of call.

Source: Associated Press

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