By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Escorted by people dressed in hazmat suits, six crew members from the Costa Magica and perhaps seven from the Costa Favolosa were evacuated off their ships.

The Unified Command put out a statement saying the patients needed, “life-critical care ashore for multiple crew members presenting with respiratory symptoms consistent with pneumonia and bronchitis.”

The patients were put on two lifeboats and taken to the Coast Guard’s Miami Beach station. Several ambulances were waiting to transport the crew members to the hospital.

There they were treated by medical teams, taking temperatures and making sure everyone was stable. One person was even fanned as he was treated. Then they were put into especially equipment infectious disease ambulances and taken to the hospital.

Jackson Health Systems said in a statement that they were working with Baptist Health to care for the crew members.

“While we are all committed to preserving resources for our own residents, an international community like Miami would never turn our backs on people aboard ships at our shores. A team from Jackson’s emergency department worked with the US Coast Guard and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue to receive these symptomatic patients at the Coast Guard station, and they will be hospitalized at our three systems until they can safely return home.”

Both ships sail for Costa Cruises, which is owned by Doral-based Carnival Corporation.

Only crew members are on board the ships. Passengers were previously offloaded after several of them tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a statement from Costa Cruises:

“Costa Magica and Costa Favolosa will then remain outside the Port of Miami until Saturday when Costa Crociere is organizing flights to Europe and Asia to repatriate the majority crew members. According to the minimum safe manning chart only a small number will remain on board the two ships to perform all the necessary duties onboardfor the crossing.”

It is worth noting that despite in the last weeks, Costa struggled to find a feasible solution to allow its crewmembers to disembark in the safest condition possible and organize their trip back home, several ports in the Caribbean had not accepted the two ships. The final decision to call the Port of Miami has been finally taken with the final blessing of its parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc, and the cooperation of the United States Authorities.

The company expresses all its appreciation and gratitude to the US Authorities and to Carnival Corporation for their support in this complex operation.

CBS4 reached out to Carnival Corp. who said it didn’t know if the crew members were tested or any results if they were.

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Ted Scouten