Scientology Cruise Ship Quarantined After Measles Outbreak - 2019-05-02
According to Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, St. Lucia's chief medical official, the country received information there was a confirmed measles case on Tuesday. After consulting with multiple health organizations both in and outside of Saint Lucia, "because of the risk of potential infection — not just from the confirmed measles case, but from other persons who may be on the boat — we thought it prudent to make a decision not to allow anyone to disembark," she said in a bilingual video message before advising Saint Lucia residents to present proof of vaccination before traveling outside the country.
Although Fredericks-James did not mention in her video message which ship was being quarantined, a Saint Lucia Coast Guard member later confirmed to MSNBC that the confirmed measles case was a female crew member on Freewinds, a ship owned and operated out of the Caribbean by the Church of Scientology. According to its official website, Freewinds is a 440-foot vessel that conducts spiritual counseling to high-ranking Scientologists aboard. Most famously, it was the site of the 42nd birthday party of Tom Cruise, Scientology's most famous follower. "To a Scientologist, boarding the Freewinds for New OT VIII is the pinnacle of a deeply spiritual journey," the website says. "Years of training and auditing have brought him to this ultimate point. It is the most significant spiritual accomplishment of his lifetime and brings with it the full realization of his immortality."