Coronavirus: Cruise ships face continuing challenges in the Caribbean
Photo via iStock- Grand Turk
The cruise ship industry continues to experience many woes in the face of the coronavirus with travel inconveniences increasing in the Caribbean.
In the Turks and Caicos, concerns had to be allayed after the Carnival cruise ship Horizon was allowed to call at the Port in Grand Turk this week, after the cruise ship bypassed two of its stops, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
However, the Turks and Caicos Health Ministry says this was done due to itinerary changes by Carnival in response to policy changes by several Caribbean countries.
The Ministry states the ship was only granted permission to dock after meeting the expanded protocols put in place by the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, as set out by the International Health Regulations.
Port St Maarten to enhance protocols
Dutch St Maarten also had its share of challenges with the cruise vessel AIDAdiva of AIDA cruises.
The vessel was scheduled to berth and disembark its passengers at Port St Maarten on March 5, however, due to protocol infringements, the vessel was not allowed to do so.
The Government did, however, allow the vessel to replenish its fuel supplies before moving on to its next port of call.
Port St Maarten in statement notes that March 4, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs made the decision not to deny the vessel’s request to make its scheduled port call due to the lack of proper procedures based on existing protocols related to maritime health declarations.
It notes that AIDAdiva’s maritime health declaration as submitted did not indicate the presence of any infectious disease on board of the ship.
Port St Maarten says it regrets what transpired and is looking into what could be done to avoid a future occurrence.
Port St Maarten management said: “These are very challenging times especially for cruise destinations like ours who are dependent on the cruise industry.
Cruise tourism is very important for the national economy as it accounts for approximately one-third of the Gross Domestic Product.
We are currently in the high season, and 2020 was already going to be a challenging year, and with the onset of the coronavirus COVID-19 epidemic, things have become even more grim for the global cruise industry.”