Cruise giant suspends services as crew fall ill

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 April, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 April, 2003, 12:00am

Star Cruises has cancelled the itineraries of two of its ships for up to four months after two suspected cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) were discovered among crew members last week.

The company has suspended SuperStar Virgo cruises for this month and next and those of SuperStar Leo until August.

Both ships sail between Hong Kong, China and other Southeast Asian ports.

The cancellations come as travel agents, hotels and retailers across the region suffer from the fallout of the Sars crisis.

'Given the severity of the situation and the number of cancellations resulting there from, which have affected the company's operations and business in the region, Star Cruises has taken the prudent and decisive step,' the company said.

It said the two crew members had been discharged from hospital. One, who was admitted to Singapore's Tan Tock Seng Hospital, was diagnosed with bronchitis. The other, who was treated at Langkawi Hospital, Malaysia, had been placed under home quarantine for 10 days.

'For prudence, we will relook at the itineraries later this week as the hospitalisation of the crew members, and the current situation out there, has affected our operations,' spokeswoman Jane Poh told Bloomberg.

The firm's Hong Kong-traded shares yesterday fell 7.89 per cent to HK$1.40, while they closed unchanged at 18.5 US cents in Singapore.

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