Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Thursday, 18 June 2009 10:07 UK

Swine flu cruise ship Aruba-bound

Cruise ship Ocean Dream near Margarita Island  17.6.09
Ocean Dream's passengers could not disembark in Barbados or Grenada

Operators of a Spanish cruise ship hit by an outbreak of swine flu say the vessel is heading to Aruba, where passengers should be able to disembark.

The ship, Ocean Dream, had docked at the Venezuelan island of Margarita, where more than 300 Venezuelans were allowed to leave.

Tour operator Pullmantur denied that the ship had been placed in quarantine by Venezuela, as earlier reported.

Three crew members have been diagnosed with the flu virus.

Eleven more crew members are reported to have symptoms.

Ocean Dream, on a tour of Caribbean islands, had not been allowed to dock in Grenada and Barbados, and had anchored off Margarita.

Pullmantur denied a statement by a local health official that the ship had been placed in quarantine until 24 June.

Some 342 Venezuelan nationals were allowed to leave on Wednesday as Margarita was their final destination.

Pullmantur says Ocean Dream is heading for Aruba where it is expected to arrive late on Thursday.

People would disembark "according to the sanitary rules set out by the island's health authorities", the company said.

Some 200 Spaniards are among the passengers on board.

Last week the World Health Organization declared the virus a global pandemic that has spread to 74 countries. There have been some 30,000 cases diagnosed globally and more than 140 deaths.

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