Cruise crew pepper spray brawling passengers ‘locked in ship’ over coronavirus

Cruise ship crew members pepper sprayed brawling passengers after anger boiled over about being 'locked' onboard the vessel over coronavirus fears, a report says.

Staff on the MSC Meraviglia were filmed grappling with the guests in the liner's dining hall.

Blanca Haddad, who recorded the footage, claims it shows crew members using pepper spray against those involved in the scrap.

The ship was turned away by the authorities in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands over fears that people onboard were infected with coronavirus.

However, Mexico reportedly allowed the vessel to dock and doctors confirmed a female guest and a crew member who were suspected of having the disease actually had the flu.

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MSC Cruises said Jamaica and the Cayman Islands caused 'unnecessary and unjustifiable anxiety' by reacting out of fear and not 'best medical practice', Mail Online reports.

The 4,580 guests onboard the ship will receive a 100 per cent discount, MSCE Cruises said.

Ms Haddad told Storyful: "People were getting hyped. We were locked in a ship and couldn't get off in the ports of Jamaica or Grand Cayman.

"People were becoming frustrated and began fighting with crew members. To stop the fight they sprayed us with pepper spray."

Fellow guests applauded staff members when they sprayed the brawlers during the fight.

The scrap broke out on February 27 after the ship was denied permission to dock in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands on February 25.

A spokesman for MSC Cruises said security staff were called to reports of two passengers, who appeared to be intoxicated, being aggressive and violent towards musicians during the evening entertainment.

The spokesman told Mail Online : "'The crowds at the party were thoroughly enjoying themselves, after what has been a challenging cruise with poor decisions by two ports to not allow our passengers to disembark because of two passengers in quarantine with common flu."

The MSC Meraviglia docked Cozumel, Mexico on Thursday morning.

Reuters reported that the Mexican Port Authority cancelled permission for the cruise ship to disembark in Cozumel on Wednesday.

However, that decision was later overturned.

Previously, a crew member who was reporting flu-like symptoms, had been placed in isolation while 4,500 passengers and 1,600 employees waited onboard.

The MSC Meraviglia was not the only cruise liner to be affected by the coronavirus.

Holland America Line’s Westerdam cruise ship was denied entry to five ports earlier in February before finally docking in Cambodia.

And the Diamond Princess suffered one of the worst outbreaks of the disease outside of China due to bungling officials on board and at shore.

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