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Cancer-stricken mum stranded on cruise ship banned from docking

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

A New Zealand woman who is dying from cancer has been left stranded on a cruise ship rejected from docking again, this time in Hawaii.

A New Zealand woman who is dying from cancer has been left stranded on a cruise ship rejected from docking again, this time in Hawaii.

Raewyn Schultz, 59, has bowel, liver and lung cancer, and is on her final holiday.

She was given clearance to go on the 21-day Pacific cruise, which departed Sydney last month, however her health has now deteriorated.

The ship's doctor as well as her oncologist at home in New Zealand has warned she will die on the ship if she's not allowed to get off at Hawaii, where the ship will arrive on Sunday.

Both doctors had written letters to appeal to port authorities, but so far the family has had no assurances she can disembark.

The ship has 2000 Australians on board, and despite no cases of coronavirus, it is being repeatedly rejected for docking amid a lockdown of cruise ports, even to ships with no illness on board.

The Norwegian Jewel docked in Sydney Harbour.

Mrs Schultz, from Waikato, who is with her husband Larry Dickie and adult children Dana and Zane, was even not allowed to get off in New Zealand last week, where it was supposed to dock.

Fiji and Tahiti also refused docking to all passengers.

Mr Dickie said the family was told today not to buy tickets home from Hawaii because they are not going to be allowed to leave the ship.

He said the New Zealand Consulate in Hawaii had offered assistance.

"The reason we picked the cruise is that it had so many stops. We could easily hop on a plane in case," he told Nine.com.au.

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"But Rae's developed a complication with her cancer and she urgently needs to get back to New Zealand.

"We either get off in Hawaii or Rae won't get back at all.

"The crew won't tell you anything."

Ms Schultz told nine.com.au: "We're not doing too good."

The cruise was supposed to end yesterday in Tahiti.

Mrs Schultz' sister-in-law Anita Mansfield said the family is desperately worried.

"Unfortunately, she has taken a turn for the worst and the doctor on board has written a letter that it would be fatal for her to continue the cruise and her oncologist has written a letter saying it is life threatening and that she needs hospitalisation," Ms Mansfield told nine.com.au.

She said her brother sent her a text message which said "she will die on this boat if we don't get off in Honolulu."

"The doctor gave her a clearance to go. We didn't think she'd deteriorate," Ms Mansfield added.

"She needs hospitalisation and palliative care.

"The ship's doctor and oncologist said she needs urgent hospitalisation and she needs to return to New Zealand."

Mrs Schultz, who was given two years to live four years ago, was unable to get travel insurance.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation said in a statement that while the Jewel and another ship, Maasdam, can restock and refuel, passengers cannot get off when it arrives on Sunday.

There have been no cases of coronavirus on board the vessel.

"Neither ship had originally planned to make Hawaii its final port and both will carry on to mainland destinations, where more resources can be marshalled to handle the passengers and crew properly," The Hawaii Department of Transport said on its website.

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AT THE MERCY OF FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS

Sally Potts said her parents Margaret, 72, and John, 77 from Brisbane, are on board the ship and are at the "mercy of foreign governments."

"They have been heading towards Honolulu but have just been denied disembarking there too," she said.

"They are at the mercy of foreign governments and are being helped as much as possible by the cruise line and ship's captain but they are basically powerless.

"We had booked them flights home from Honolulu but if they miss them there may not be any flights home from wherever they end up docking.

"There are many older passengers on this ship who will have a finite amount of medication and can't continue at sea indefinitely."

Glenn and Debbie Wicks, from Newcastle in NSW, are also among Australians on board the ship, which is just one of many trying to dock amid a lockdown of cruise ports, even to ships with no illness on board.

The Norwegian Jewel was refused entry to New Zealand, Fiji and French Polynesia.

RUNNING OUT OF MEDICATION

Mr and Mrs son, Kieran Wicks, earlier said his mother and his aunt, who was also on board, were both running low on medication for a hereditary thyroid condition.

While there was a doctor on board, Mr Wicks said his mum was told it would cost US$150 just for a consultation to get a script.

Mr Wicks said even if his family were able to make it off the ship he was worried about how they would get back home.

Debbie and Glenn Wicks, from Newcastle in NSW, are on board the Norwegian Jewel.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson earlier said it had been in contact with Norwegian Cruise Line to seek further information about the planned movements of the ship.

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"The Department stands ready to provide consular support to Australians in need of assistance as per the Consular Services Charter," the spokesperson said.

Last week cruise firms announced a halting of operations, , and Prime Minister Scott Morrison said they would also not be allowed to dock from foreign ports.

"Norwegian Jewel's 23-day Australia and French Polynesia itinerary was modified to disembark in Auckland, New Zealand on March 20, 2020," A Norwegian Cruise Line spokeswoman said.

"Due to multiple port closures in the area, further modifications were made. We will share an update as it becomes available."

Contact reporter Sarah Swain: Sswain@nine.com.au

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-cruise-ships-norwegian-jewel-not-allowed-to-dock-sydney-hawaii/7cf5243e-2c17-4f06-83d3-31665a8336c5

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