He was due to leave on March 20 from Saint-Nazaire but the coronavirus crisis decided otherwise: the liner Celebrity Apex is now confined with on board more than 1,400 crew members including 29 people contaminated by Covid-19. The question of their repatriation is now a headache.

After delivery to his American owner, the Royal Cabibean Cruises, he should have left St-Nazaire on March 20. But the coronavirus crisis decided otherwise. The brand-new Celebrity Apex liner is now confined to the quay with more than 1,400 crew members on board, including 29 reported cases of Covid-19. Unaffected passengers are waiting to be repatriated to their country ... But during periods of confinement and strict sanitary measures, this is a real headache.

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Sixty nationalities represented

Initially, seven cases were reported on board. The brutal increase in the number of patients, including one person hospitalized in Saint-Nazaire, gives rise to a health crisis, but also logistical and diplomatic: it will be necessary to repatriate healthy people to the four corners of the world, since sixty nationalities are represented.

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Jean-Yves Roux, diplomatic advisor to the Prefect of the Pays-de-la-Loire region explains that repatriation by plane will be considered. "Negative persons will be allowed to leave the boat as soon as the owner has a solution for them to send them back to their country of origin. Since they are mainly nationals of countries outside the Union -European one can imagine that it will be by air. Not easy for the moment to organize this kind of trips. Now there will be solutions that will be studied, "he said.

A medical team expected on board

In the meantime, a medical team sent by the shipowner must arrive in Saint-Nazaire in the coming days to carry out the tests on the entire crew.


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The liner had been talked about in recent days since, to kill the boredom, the crew members had organized a big party in the middle of confinement.