AMERICAN HAWAII PULLS LINER FROM SERVICE TO PROBE ILLNESSES

AMERICAN HAWAII PULLS LINER FROM SERVICE TO PROBE ILLNESSES

American Hawaii Cruises last week removed one of its liners, the Independence, from service because of a gastrointestinal illness that had struck about 200 people on board during the past two weeks.

Of the 2,000 or so people who sailed on the ship in Hawaiian waters during the second half of February, 10 percent became ill with what appeared to be a viral infection, officials from the cruise company said.The company, based in San Francisco, and Hawaii's Health Department are probing the outbreak. Tests conducted by the state indicate there was no water contamination and no food poisoning.

The ship will resume normal service between the Hawaiian islands beginning Saturday.

"At this time, we believe the outbreak is still viral-related," said Gene Ferretti, president of American Hawaii.

During a seven-day cruise that began Feb. 15, the ship's doctor reported that 99 passengers and crew became ill at the end of the week. Last week, about 100 people on board the Independence were sick, American Hawaii reported.