Passengers missing from Dubai cruise ship in The Gambia
Five people are missing from a cruise ship in The Gambia after the country declared a state of emergency following disputed election results.
According to a report by Cruise Arabia & Africa, there are two crew and three passengers among those missing, while a statement on the company’s website confirms crew and passengers are missing, without providing details.
Adnan William, operating manager for DolusSea Cruise Line, was quoted by Cruise Arabia & Africa as saying the ship docked in Banjul, the capital of The Gambia on Wednesday morning as part of a scheduled cruise itinerary.
“The ship stayed overnight as planned, but one of our shore excursions did not return to the ship on Wednesday evening. We are working with the police to track their whereabouts, but the situation ashore is very fluid,” he said.
“After the state of emergency was declared, and with reports of possible imminent violence in the country, we decided to move the ship to an anchorage, where it would be safer, but we cant leave without our passengers,” he added.
A statement from the cruise line DolusSea said the ship remained in port, but had been moved to an anchorage for safety reasons. The statement rejected descriptions of the ship as ‘stranded’, but acknowledged that they could not leave without locating the missing persons.
“The safety of our passengers and crew is our highest priortity,” the statement said.
The Gambia declared a state of emergency following disputed election results that the incumbent president has refused to accept. West African nations have said they will send in troops to forcibly remove him from power if he does not concede.
The situation has resulted in a mass exodus of tourists from the country and the UK and US governments have issued travel advisories against all but essential travel to the country.
The ship left Cape Town in January and is mid-way through a voyage up the West African coast. According to the cruise line's website, it is based in Dubai.