My wife and I were also passengers on the Oceana when the ship was refused entry, and I would just like to add my comments on the fiasco.
From the comments of U.S. Coast Guard Lt. John Reinert, it would appear the Oceana was indeed at fault. But honestly, just how much red tape do the Americans want? Let us not forget how much security those 2,000 passengers had been through before arriving at St. Thomas. We all went through security at our departure airport in Great Britain and again at Barbados before joining the ship. Also, every time we re-joined the ship we went through the ship's own security.
Apparently the Coast Guard said the ship could have returned to international waters in order to get her papers in order … how ridiculous! What was the captain supposed to do, get on the telephone to the Coast Guard and say, "Please can we come back into the harbour?"
I do appreciate, due to events in recent years, that security is extremely important, but I'm sure an error in the pre-arrival documentation could have been resolved amicably.
We felt like criminals, 2,000 tourists escorted away from your island by a Coast Guard vessel.
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