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Mombasa-bound ship diverts 400 tourists to Seychelles

Ms Silver Spirit Cruise Ship
Ms Silver Spirit Cruise Ship at the Port of Mombasa on January 2018. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A cruise ship destined for the port of Mombasa changed its destination to Seychelles following a US government warning to its citizens to be “careful” in parts of Kenya.

The change of route on Sunday is a blow to the sector that has been on upward trend.

The ship was expected to dock in Mombasa but sailed off to Mahe, Seychelles, due to security concerns.

Kenya Ports Authority head of corporate affairs Bernard Osero confirmed but could not give more details. “I am aware that they cancelled but I need to find out more,”Mr Osero said.

But other sources within the port said the cruise ship, MS Nautica, sailed off to another anchor port after the US government issued an alert warning that Westerners might be targeted by extremists in Nairobi, Naivasha, Nanyuki and the coastal areas.

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“The cruise ship did not dock following the alert. It was cancelled due to security concerns. We could have earned around Sh3 million from berthing and pilotage but the impact on the economy is huge, the tourists could have disembarked from the luxury vessel to visit national parks, among other attractions,” the source said.

The luxury ship had 400 tourists. It was expected to dock at Mombasa on Sunday morning and stay for more than 10 hours at the port of Mombasa as some on board were expected disembark to visit tourist attractions across the country.

On its website, Oceania Cruises which operates MS Nautica said: “Please be advised that organised tours may not be available or are not yet available for this port.”

Tourism earnings for 2018 hit Sh157.4 billion, up about 30 percent while the number of visitors rose by 37 percent.

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