Norwegian cruise ship blocked from docking in Mauritius over 'health risks'

A Norwegian cruise ship has been blocked from docking in Mauritius due to "potential health risks" after passengers reported feeling unwell.

Samples have been taken from about 15 people being kept in isolation on board the Norwegian Dawn.

The authorities said the ship had been stopped from docking at the capital of Port Louis at the weekend over health and safety concerns.

Officials confirmed there are 2,184 passengers and 1,026 crew on board.

In a statement, the Mauritius Ports Authority said: "The decision not to allow the cruise ship access to the quay was taken in order to avoid any health risks.

"The health and safety of passengers as well as that of the country as a whole are of the utmost to the authorities."

The authority did not confirm details about the type of illness being managed on board the vessel, but hoped to have results within 48 hours.

A spokesperson for the Norwegian Cruise Line, which has its headquarters in the US, said it was during the ship's trip to South Africa on 13 February when some passengers reported experiencing mild symptoms of a stomach-related illness.

The ship's management had been working with Mauritian authorities to make sure precautions were in place and everyone on board was safe, the spokesperson said.

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About 2,000 people had been due to disembark at Port Louis after completing their cruise - another 2,279 new passengers had been expected to board the ship, the port authority said.

"Passengers who were due to board the Norwegian Dawn and begin their cruise from Mauritius today will not be able to do so due to potential health risks," it added.

Those who were disembarking or joining the cruise will now do so on Tuesday, the Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson said.