‘We’re all in the identical boat’: B.C. couple on stranded ship prepares for lengthy, unsure journey residence


VANCOUVER —
A Vancouver Island couple stranded on a cruise ship off the coast of Panama acquired a welcome dose of fine information Sunday.

David and Norma Kirkham, of Metchosin, had been amongst these trapped aboard the MS Zaandam within the Pacific Ocean, however on Sunday they and lots of of others had been transferred to the vessel’s sister ship, the Rotterdam.

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The Zaandam set sail from Buenos Aires on March 7, sailed across the tip of South America and was as a result of go via the Panama Canal to finish its voyage in Florida on April 7.

As an alternative, the ship was refused entry into the canal and at numerous ports during the last a number of days. Greater than 80 crew members and 50 passengers aboard the large Holland America ship have reported respiratory signs, and 4 folks aboard have died.

Now aboard the Rotterdam, David and Norma Kirkham are optimistic that each ships will likely be allowed to go via the canal, however that will solely be step one of what’s prone to be a protracted journey residence.

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“We had booked flights from Fort Lauderdale to Toronto to Vancouver and Victoria, the place we stay,” David Kirkham stated. “These flights, we do not know. They in all probability do not exist anymore, and so we’re interesting to the Prime Minister to make sure that if there are not any common flights, that flights will likely be organized by the federal government.”

If the ship is allowed to dock in Florida, the couple is not sure whether or not they’d should be quarantined there earlier than travelling again to Canada.

If and after they handle to get again to Canada, they will not be touchdown in Victoria, as a result of Canada has restricted worldwide flights to only 4 airports.

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As soon as they get again to Canada, the couple will likely be legally obligated to spend 14 days in self-isolation, one thing they possible will not have the ability to do at residence in Metchosin, until they will get there from the airport solely in a non-public automobile.

For now, the Kirkham household is taking issues day-by-day, hour-by-hour, making an attempt to remain targeted on their continued good well being.

“We’re all in the identical boat right here,” David Kirkham stated. “All of us have households. All of us have distresses. And we’re all working collectively to get residence safely.” 

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