Out of safety concerns, NBA stars to stay in luxury cruise ship during Rio games

The 'Silver Cloud' docked at the Maua Pier in Rio, Brazil, on August 1, 2016.

The 'Silver Cloud' docked at the Maua Pier in Rio, Brazil, on August 1, 2016.  (This content is subject to copyright.)

The NBA stars playing at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will not be housed in the Olympic Village, like other athletes, but rather on board a luxury transatlantic cruise ship that docked on the weekend at the city's port of Maua.

The "Silver Cloud" has capacity to host up to 400 people in its 196 cabins, the port terminal said.

Craig Miller, a spokesman for USA Basketball, said security in Rio is a concern, but he noted the men's team stopped staying in the Olympic Village beginning with the 1992 Olympics — the first appearance of "The Dream Team."

"We don't stay in the village because we don't feel it's the best way to prepare for competition," Miller told the AP. "The players have a long professional season and they want to spend as much time as possible with family and friends."

The U.S. delegation has reserved all 196 cabins for the men's and women's Olympic basketball teams, with all its amenities and attractions.

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A fence made of bulletproof material will keep the public away from the vessel and the athletes, who will be guarded by some 250 federal police officers.

"The Federal Police will also have two boats ... that they will be used to prevent navigation near the vessel," said Maua operations director Alexandre Gomes.

Also, he said the ship is anchored at a site far from the docking spaces reserved for the many cruise ships that will visit Rio during the Games.

The cruise ship, operated by Silversea Cruises, has a tonnage at 16,800 and its last cruise was in the Mediterranean in June.

Maua port terminal chief Denise Lima said that the NBA players will be able to see all the structures and spaces that Rio has built and/or refurbished to revitalize its port area, including the modern Tomorrow Museum, a project by Spain's Santiago Calatrava, the Museum of the Sea and the Olympic Boulevard.

Rio's revitalized port is considered to be one of the main Olympic legacies. It is expected to attract thousands of tourists to the gigantic screens that have been installed there, where people will be able to watch various competitions and other types of entertainment associated with the Games.

Based on reporting by EFE.

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