Cruise operator Carnival said it still has 6,000 passengers on its ships at sea amid the widening coronavirus pandemic and that they may not be able to disembark until the end of April.
Carnival, the world's largest cruise operator, also said some crew members aren't able to return to their homes and will be housed and fed on the ships. The company disclosed the number of at-sea passengers in a regulatory filing tied to a stock offering.
Cruise line bookings have plunged during the virus outbreak and crushed industry players' financial results. Carnival shares are down 76% this year.
One Carnival ship, the Zaandam, is pushing to disembark in Florida, but Governor Ron DeSantis has said he doesn't want the ship to dock in the state. Almost 200 people on the Zaandam have flu-like symptoms, while several have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and four people have died from the disease, according to CBS Miami.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard is directing all cruise ships to remain at sea where they may be sequestered "indefinitely" during the coronavirus pandemic. The Coast Guard also told cruise ship operators to be prepared to send any severely ill passengers to the countries where the vessels are registered.
More than two dozen cruise ships are waiting at Port Miami and Port Everglades in Florida as well as nearby offshore, according to the Miami Herald. Among those ships are Carnival's Costa Magica and Costa Favolosa, which are anchored near the port of Miami and currently working with the Coast Guard to facilitate medical evacuations, Carnival said in its filing.
With reporting by The Associated Press.