By Chester Robards
NASSAU, Bahamas — Nassau Cruise Port Limited revealed in a statement that the existence of coronavirus (COVID-19) in The Bahamas will not “derail” its construction plans for the redevelopment of Nassau’s cruise port and explained that the company will review its health and safety protocols over the next few weeks while cruise ships have suspended sailings because of the virus.
The company’s statement noted that there may be cruise lines that will request to berth at Nassau’s port with a small amount of crew. It contended that those cruise lines will provide documentation to the customs and immigration departments and declarations of health for those on board.
“We anticipate that some cruise lines may request to berth ships at Nassau’s cruise port during the suspension period,” the statement noted.
“These ships may contain a relatively small number of crew members who will spend this time here in port. These cruise lines will provide a declaration of health to The Bahamas’ customs and immigration [departments] as part of the application for entry into The Bahamas. The declaration of health will describe any health concerns of any person on board the ship. The crew are subject to the COVID-19 protocols of the Bahamian government at the time that they apply for entry.”
Nassau Cruise Port said sailing has already been suspended by cruise lines, while those that were already sailing at the time the decision was made by cruise lines would continue their itineraries.
“On March 13, 2020, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced that several major cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian and MSC will voluntarily suspend sailing operations to and from US ports for 30 days due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” the statement noted.
“Disney also suspended its sailings through to the end of March 2020. Most ships at sea will continue with their itineraries as planned as the cruise lines prepare to temporarily suspend North American service.
“We have been and remain in constant communication with the major cruise lines and CLIA, ministry of health, ministry of tourism and other key stakeholders as this situation unfolds. Our cruise line partners have undertaken extraordinary measures to safeguard their crew, passengers, shareholders, and other stakeholders and we have and will continue to benefit from their efforts. We support their difficult decision to temporarily suspend sailings amid this global public health crisis. Everyone’s health and safety are our paramount concerns.
“Over the next few weeks, we will review our health and safety protocols in anticipation of the resumption of cruise visits to Nassau and to improve the safety of the port environment in the short term and long term. This may include technological upgrades, enhanced security screening measures and a review of our medical procedures, among other efforts. We are committed to the health of our passengers, employees, port stakeholders and the entire Bahamian and global communities as we navigate this challenging situation.”
Despite the threats of the virus, the company noted in its statement that it would move forward with its plans to demolish the old customs warehouse by the end of the month, pending approvals.
“This very unfortunate situation will not derail our construction plans,” Nassau Cruise Port pointed out.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian