A cruise ship belonging to the Church of Scientology has been quarantined by the government of the Caribbean island of St. Lucia because a crew member is confirmed to have measles, Yahoo News reports.
The Freewinds, at 440 feet, is small by cruise ship standards, housing roughly 300 passengers and crew; modern cruise ships, by comparison, hold 5-6,000. Regardless, the vessel is owned and used as a retreat by the Church of Scientology.
Unfortunately for the people on board the vessel, they won’t be able to enjoy the gentle beaches, stunning vistas, and colonial history of the island of St. Lucia, where it is docked, as the government of the tiny island (population: 178,000) has quarantined the vessel. That’s because a female crew member is confirmed to have an active case of measles.
The island’s chief medical officer, Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, said that it’s better to keep the vessel quarantined rather than put the island’s people at risk of contracting the disease, which can in rare cases be fatal in small children.
“Because of the risk of potential infection, not just from the confirmed measles case, but from other persons who may be on the boat at the time, we thought it prudent to make a decision not to allow anyone to disembark. One infected person can easily infect others. We thought it prudent that we quarantine the ship.”
Meanwhile, CNN reports that the ship’s doctor has ordered 100 doses of the measles vaccine, which the St. Lucian government is providing at no cost.
The ship is not being forbidden from leaving the island, however, and indeed some reports indicated that plans were underway for the vessel to leave St. Lucia Thursday night.
Meanwhile, The Underground Bunker writer Tony Ortega claims to have heard from a passenger on the vessel. A Facebook user using the name Bernard Bonner wrote that everyone on board is fine and having a good time, calling the goings-on on the ship “business as usual.” He also disputes the claim that it’s a crew member who’s infected, but says that it was a passenger. Ortega, for what it’s worth, points out that members of the Church of Scientology are loathe to say anything critical of the church, particularly in a public way such as through social media, so “Bernard Bonner’s” words should be taken with a grain of salt.
In case you were wondering, the Church of Scientology actually does not advocate against vaccinations, as some religions do. Though the Church eschews psychiatry and psychology, its members are not forbidden from undergoing routine medical care, such as vaccinations.