Cruise ship reportedly stranded in Spanish port due to passenger visa problems

  • A cruise ship with approximately 1,500 passengers has been stranded in Barcelona due to visa issues faced by a group of Bolivian passengers.
  • The Bolivians reportedly lack valid documents to enter the European border-free Schengen area.
  • Spanish government officials are collaborating with Bolivian authorities to resolve the situation.

A cruise ship reportedly carrying 1,500 passengers was stuck Wednesday in the Spanish northeastern port of Barcelona due to the visa problems of a group of Bolivian passengers who were due to disembark there, officials said.

Authorities say 69 Bolivians are not being allowed to leave the ship because they lack valid documents to enter the European border-free Schengen area.

Spanish government officials in the city said they are in contact with Bolivian authorities and the MSC Cruises Company to resolve the situation. The ship had sailed from Brazil to cover a route in the Mediterranean Sea.

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Spanish state news agency Efe and other media said that some 1,500 passengers were meanwhile on board the MSC Armony hoping to continue the cruise to Croatia.

Cruise ship

The cruise ship MSC Armony is seen moored on April 3, 2024, in the port of Barcelona, Spain. The ship is stranded due to the visa problems of a group of Bolivian passengers who were due to disembark there, officials say. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

A statement from the Bolivian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said the Bolivian Embassy in Spain and the country’s Consulate General in Barcelona “are carrying out the pertinent steps to address this case,” coordinating with Spanish authorities, as well as with the MSC Cruises Company.

MSC Cruises said in a statement the Bolivians included families and children.

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It said the “passengers appeared to have proper documentation upon boarding in Brazil. We have been informed by the authorities that the visas are not valid for entry into the Schengen area. As a result, passengers have not been able to disembark in Barcelona, which was their final destination.”

The company said the ship remained in port while it works with authorities to facilitate the process.

The Schengen area is an ID-check-free travel zone comprising 29 European countries, most from the European Union.

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