Residents near Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast awoke Thursday to a strange but familiar sight.
Seven Seas Navigator, a 490-passenger, eight-deck ship, was arriving to the port city of Puntarenas — an unusual occurrence during the global travel slowdown provoked by the coronavirus.
The ship is docking in Costa Rica in order to disembark three Tico crew members who had expressed their desire to return to their country, according to a press release from the Health Ministry. No other person will leave the Seven Seas Navigator, a luxury liner owned by Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
The three Costa Ricans will meet Immigration Police, be tested for SARS-CoV-2 and receive a mandatory 14-day home quarantine order, the Health Ministry explained.
“The Pacific Port Authority (INCOP) will execute its protocol for care and prevention of the coronavirus, CCSS nurses will apply the appropriate tests on site and officials from the Ministry of Health will notify the quarantine to the nationals,” INCOP said in a statement.
The last port of call for the cruise ship was in Los Angeles on April 22. The vessel reported on April 27 that it none of its 342 crew members had demonstrated symptoms of the coronavirus, per the Health Ministry.
The ship, which currently does not have passengers, will be restocked with food and water before departing Costa Rican waters.
Until the coronavirus crisis paralyzed international travel, Costa Rica had expected to receive at least 220 cruise ships during the 2019-20 season.
Due to the coronavirus, Costa Rica has banned tourists and non-resident foreigners from entering the country until at least May 15. Citizens, and residents who departed Costa Rica prior to March 24, are among the only people who can legally enter the country.