As many as 66 of the over 2,000 people on board the Cordelia cruise ship tested positive for Covid on Sunday.
The ship had set sail from Mumbai for the coastal state of Goa, a popular tourist destination, on New Year’s Eve amid a sudden spike in Covid cases.
All the passengers onboard were tested on Sunday after a crew member had tested positive.
At least 27 infected passengers refused to leave the ship when they were asked to quarantine at a medical facility in Goa.
The ship was sent back to Mumbai after considering the situation in the tourist state, shipping agent JM Baxi and Co’s operations manager Govind Pernulkar told news agency PTI.
All the passengers would be allowed to disembark once the ship docks at Mumbai port on Tuesday evening.
“The passengers who were shifted to an isolation facility were brought back to the ship before it sailed for Mumbai. The passengers would be isolated on the ship,” Mr Pernulkar said.
The company, in a statement, said it suspended its operations until 5 January due to “prevailing Covid-19 restrictions and in compliance with government authorities.”
Jurgen Bailom, chief executive of Waterways Leisure tourism which owns Cordelia Cruises, said all crew members and 1,400 guests on board undertook an RT-PCR test 48 hours prior to the cruise setting sail on September 2021.
“The guests that boarded the cruise last Sunday had all tested negative in their RT-PCR at the time of boarding. They were also fully vaccinated. It was only when one crew member and that, too, someone who works at the back of the house, showed mild symptoms on board last Sunday and was immediately isolated, that all guests and crew had to undergo tests again,” his statement to India Today read.
The cruise ship company was earlier embroiled in a controversy when the country’s anti-drug agency raided the ship last year over an alleged drug bust where film star Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, among others, were named.