Police Prepare Riot Shields as Disgruntled Cruise Ship Passengers Disembark at Keelung
A large contingent of police armed with riot shields gathered at the cruise terminal at the Port of Keelung last night, as the Star Cruises vessel SuperStar Virgo arrived after a voyage that saw passengers occupy the casino in a collective protest over changes to the itinerary.
On July 1, passengers embarked on a 6 day, 5 night cruise scheduled to take them to the cities of Naha and Osaka. However, the path of Typhoon Prapiroon led to the crew diverting the ship to Ishigaki Island, rather than Naha.
A medical emergency during the cruise also caused delays to the itinerary after a performer was injured after falling from a height during a performance. As a result, the originally scheduled full-day stop in Osaka was reduced to an 8 hour stopover.
Dissatisfied with the voyage, hundreds of passengers gathered in a collective protest on the casino deck, demanding to see the captain. Passengers told the media that the captain had a bad attitude, and had dispatched security personnel to prohibit people from taking photographs. The captain refused to meet the passengers and told them they should put their complaints in writing.
At a press conference at 10:00pm last night, Star Cruises said that the arrival of the ship had again been delayed by heavy seas generated by Typhoon Maria. Originally due to arrive at 4:30pm, docking was delayed until 11:00pm. The cruise company said that they offered passengers the option of staying aboard for the night, with breakfast service in the morning. For those who want to disembark on arrival, a free bus to Taipei Station would be provided.
A Star Cruises spokesperson said that passengers would receive compensation in the form of a red envelope containing NT$1,500. The company also offered a half-price discount if the passengers want to book another cruise.
After the SuperStar Virgo docked last night, 1,446 people disembarked peacefully, while 841 chose to stay on board overnight.
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