Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., issued the following statement calling for the Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships operated by Holland America Line to be allowed to dock for passengers — including the Minnesotans aboard — to disembark safely in a way that protects both their health and public safety amid outbreaks of the coronavirus.

Smith has been actively working to help find a solution for getting passengers off the Zaandam — which currently has four deceased people and over 150 others with flu-like symptoms aboard — as well as the Rotterdam cruise ship, which has passengers who report not having symptoms. Smith has been in contact with Minnesotans on the Zaandam and their families, as well as several federal agencies.

“The passengers and staff aboard the Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships need our help now. Our first and foremost priority should be to help Minnesotans and Americans safely disembark, find appropriate environments for quarantine, and ensure immediate medical attention for those who need it most,” Smith stated in a news release. “An indefinite quarantine on the ships is not a solution and that option should not be on the table. Instead, federal, state, and local lawmakers — as well as Holland America — should work together and share the responsibility of helping these people get to safety.