After docking for nearly a week at Port of Oakland's Outer Harbor Terminal, the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship is set to leave the boatyard tonight and temporarily anchor in the San Francisco Bay.
The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) released an updated statement Sunday saying the buoyant Petri dish would leave the Port of Oakland tonight at 7 p.m., but live-captured drone footage from ABC7 still shows the vessel bobbing up and down in the East Bay inlet. As of Saturday, federal officials said more than 2,900 individuals from the Grand Princess cruise shop — 2,400-plus passengers and some 500 crew — have since left the boat when it arrived in the harbor March 9th.
The disease-ridden craft will temporarily anchor in the San Francisco Bay once it leaves the Port of Oakland, and the remaining “skeleton crew” will finally disembark.
Per the Associated Press, the cruise ship arrived in the Oakland marina carrying 3,533 people, suggesting there's hundreds of crew currently onboard. KTVU also noted those still at sea are crew members deemed "non-essential to [the safety] of the ship," and they’ll be repatriated via charter flights, after receiving appropriate health screenings — an achievement not easily secured.
"This repatriation process has been extremely challenging due to the dynamic nature of the expanding and evolving air travel restrictions throughout the world," said Gretchen Mitchell, a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson to KTVU's Andre Torrez.
Once the ship momentarily docks in the San Francisco Bay — somewhere, the exact coordinates aren’t known — remaining individuals will depart for their chartered flights leaving a non-commercial portion of SFO. But, those leaving the ship who show COVID-19-like symptoms or are ill in general will not be permitted to board said charter flights; they, and those who charter flights are not available for, will stay under quarantine on the ship.
Upon the ship’s departure, Cal OES states the Port of Oakland site where the boat was held will be fully "remediated and decontaminated,” which includes removing temporary structures and pressure washing the whole site with a sterilizing bleach solution.
If you’re tired of staring out of your window and would rather navigate your gaze to a somewhat listless live stream, check out ABC7’s live drone footage below:
Photo: Dope Squad