Spain's transport ministry has extended the ban on cruise ships from whatever origin entering Spanish ports. This prohibition has previously been extended twice, it having come into effect on 13 March just prior to the declaration of state of alarm. The latest extension means that in principle no cruise ships can enter ports until the state of alarm ends.
The ministry's order, published on the Official Bulletin on Tuesday, states that passenger transport must retain certain containment and preventive measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. It cites a European Commission communiqué of last week which read: "Covid-19 outbreaks on cruise ships have revealed the special vulnerability of closed environments during long journeys. Before cruise ships resume operations, ships' operators must establish strict procedures to reduce the risk of contagion on board and provide adequate medical assistance in the event of contagion."
Owing to the "still complex situation and the unpredictable and dynamic evolution (of the pandemic), as well as the commission's guidelines and recommendations", the lifting of the restriction on entry of cruise ships into Spanish ports is not advised so long as operators do not establish "strict" procedures to reduce the risk of contagion on board and at ports on ships' routes.
In addition to cruise ships, the ministry's order does not permit foreign ships and recreational boats that do not have ports of stay in Spain to dock at any Spanish port, with the exception of those that have only professional crews on board.
Unless expressly authorised, the order applies to the whole of the country, regardless of the phase in which specific regions may be in terms of de-escalation.
The suspension of operations by leading cruise lines varies from company to company. For example, Royal Caribbean has suspended global operations until at least 11 June, while Costa Cruises and Norwegian Cruises are suspended until 30 June, and MSC Cruises until 10 July.
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