Scientology cruise ship quarantined in St. Lucia after report of measles on board

Scientology cruise ship quarantined in St. Lucia after report of measles on board
St. Lucia's chief medical officer said no one is allowed off of the vessel. (Source: Ramon Espinosa)

CASTRIES, ST. LUCIA (GRAY NEWS) - The Caribbean island of St. Lucia has quarantined a cruise ship after a case of measles was confirmed on board.

The ship, the Freewinds, belongs to the Church of Scientology, according to reports.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Merlene Fredericks James ordered the ship quarantined after consulting with the Pan American Health Organization.

“We thought it prudent we quarantine this ship. No one was allowed to leave this ship,” James said.

James warned residents of the regional measles threat in the U.S., telling citizens of the island to vaccinate themselves and their children. There have been a record 704 cases of measles reported in the U.S. from January to April of this year.

“One infected person can easily infect others through coughing, sneezing … So 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,” Andrews said.

The vessel is still moored on the island, St. Lucia Coast Guard Sgt. Victor Theodore told NBC News.

The ship has been quarantined since April 30.

The luxurious 440-foot cruise ship has served as a retreat for the Church or Scientology since 1988 and is hailed as a ”an aesthetic, distraction-free environment off the crossroads of everyday life.”

According to the New York Times, John Carmichael, president of the Church of Scientology in New York, said in 2006 that the church had not taken a stance on vaccinations “as a religious principle.”

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