Rabat – French authorities banned on Saturday a ferry coming from Morocco from landing in Sete, a major port city in France’s southeastern region of Occitanie, citing COVID-19 concerns.
French media said the ferry, operated by maritime travel company GNV, is carrying between 600 and 800 passengers who have reportedly been stuck on the ship since Saturday.
La Depeche said the passengers would have been diverted to Italy “instead of docking in the port of Sete in Herault.”
GNV has not yet confirmed the reports, but several news outlets said the boat is anchored near the city of Collioure with passengers still stranded.
Atlas Info published footage in which Mohamed Rahmoun, one of the passengers, commented on the situation.
Rahmou said all of the passengers have a negative PCR test for COVID-19. A PCR test is among the conditions that ferry operators and port authorities require before any passenger gets on board.
“We would rather return to Nador than Disembark in Italy,” he said.
Rahmoun said the majority of passengers on the ferry live in France.
Atlas Info said the authorities in Herault prohibited the disembarking of the boat in the port of Sete due to the alleged presence of several cases of COVID-19 among travelers.
Pledge Times reported that the governments of Morocco and France are now holding discussions to find a solution to the ferry debacle.
Both France and Morocco are struggling to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Morocco has been recording record numbers of COVID-19 infections. On Saturday, the North African country confirmed over 3,000 new cases.
As of October 10, Morocco has recorded 149,8421 cases, including 2,572 deaths and 124,854 recoveries.
France, meanwhile, has reported over 719,000 cases, including 32,684 deaths and over 101,000 recoveries.