SIHANOUKVILLE: US President Donald Trump has thanked Cambodia for taking in the castaway cruise ship MS Westerdam in a rare message to a country that is one of China's closest allies and has often been at odds with Washington.
Five countries turned away the Westerdam, worried its passengers could be carrying the coronavirus despite it having no known cases before Cambodia's authoritarian prime minister, Hun Sen, agreed the passengers could disembark there.
"Thank you to the beautiful country of Cambodia for accepting the @CarnivalCruise ship Westerdam into your port. The United States will remember your courtesy," Trump tweeted late on Friday (Feb 14).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2020
The Westerdam, operated by Carnival Corp. unit Holland America Inc, docked in the port of Sihanoukville on Thursday after being shunned for two weeks. Its 1,455 passengers began to disembark on Friday to head home.
The passengers were tested regularly on the ship and Cambodia also tested 20 once it docked. None were found to have the new coronavirus that has killed more than 1,500 people, the vast majority in China.