Apr 06, Colombo: Sri Lanka Navy Monday retrieved a Sri Lankan crew member aboard the Cruise Ship MSC Magnifica after he requested President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over social media to get him back to the island.
Accordingly, with the blessing of the President and direct involvement of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, the Navy safely retrieved the Sri Lankan crew member and brought him to the Colombo harbor today (06th April 2020).
MSC Magnifica, which set sail on 04th January 2020 from Rome, with about 2700 crew and passengers aboard, had to cancel its 116-day world tour while in Australia, due to the worldwide coronavirus epidemic. Since the ship was denied entry to any port of a country, the ship has subsequently decided to set sail to Italy, where the parent company is located.
During the course of its tour, the ship was scheduled make a port call at Colombo on 12th April. But since the ship was denied entry to any ports in any country on its itinerary, it has arrived in Colombo six days earlier for replenishment.
MSC Magnifica claims that there are no coronavirus cases aboard the ship.
The Navy said it is in this backdrop, Mr. Anura Bandara Herath, the only Sri Lankan on board the cruise ship, requested to bring him back to Sri Lanka.
As a result of the timely intervention of the President, a team of Navy’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Unit was dispatched to the passenger ship which was anchored about 4.4 nautical miles (09km) off the port of Colombo and the Sri Lankan was safely retrieved and transferred ashore this morning.
Meanwhile, a 75 year old German female passenger suffering from a heartache onboard the MSC ‘Magnifica’ was also safely brought ashore by the Navy.
Subsequently, the event was informed to the Presidential Task Force on prevention of COVID-19 and upon its directives the Sri Lankan and the ill German woman were disinfected on the harbor premises in accordance with proper sterilization procedures.
Subsequently, the Sri Lankan was directed to the Boossa Naval Quarantine Centre for 21 days of quarantine following all safety guidelines.
Meanwhile the German woman has been rushed to the Colombo National Hospital for treatment.
In a bid to be prepared for such eventuality, a formal training program was conducted on 13th of March at the Colombo Port premises by Navy in collaboration with the Ports Authority and the Health Ambulance Service of “Suwa Sariya”.
“As Sri Lankans, it is a matter to be happy to retrieve the one and only Sri Lankan national aboard, in circumstances where at no time has the ship been accepted by any port in the world,” the Navy said.
Upon disembarkation, the crew member expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Sri Lankan government, the President and Sri Lanka Navy for taking prompt action to get him back to Sri Lanka.
<! --- End News Item --->