The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the extension of a No sail control for cruise ships carrying more than 250 passengers in the waters over which the United States has jurisdiction.
“We are working with the cruise industry to address the health and safety of crews at sea as well as the communities surrounding the ports of entry for American cruise ships,” said CDC director Robert Redfield, in a press release announcing the non-navigation order. “The measures we are taking today to stop the spread of COVID-19 are necessary to protect Americans, and we will continue to provide public health advice that is essential to the industry to limit the impact of COVID-19 on its workforce.” during the rest of this period. pandemic. “
The CDC Order
The ordinance effectively prohibits cruise operations in light of the COVID-19 epidemic until the first of three conditions is met:
1- If the Secretary of Health and Social Services declares that the public health emergency COVID-19 has expired;
2- If the director of the CDC cancels or modifies the order, depending on public health or other considerations;
3 to 100 days from the date of publication (April 9) of the order in the federal register.
The industrial association, International Association of Cruise Lines (CLIA), voluntarily suspended cruise ship operations on March 14 in conjunction with an earlier order issued by the CDC.
The new order means cruise companies are not expected to sail until mid-July 2020 very early on. Cruise Critic maintains a updated list of current cruise line suspensions. Some cruise lines had been optimistic about previous departures – before the publication of this order.
The new CDC order also requires ships to develop “a comprehensive plan approved by the CDC and USCG [U.S. Coast Guard] to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with sea-based solutions, including a fully workable response plan with limited use of support from state, local and federal governments. ”
Key elements of the plan include medical checks for passengers and crew, training the crew to prevent Ovid-19, and epidemic management and response strategies on board. This essentially makes cruise lines, rather than government entities, responsible for resolving issues related to the virus.
The CDC goes on to note that currently about 100 cruise ships remain at sea off the East Coast, the West Coast and the Gulf Coast, with nearly 80,000 crew members on board. . In addition, the CDC is aware of 20 cruise ships in port or at anchor in the United States with a known or suspected COVID-19 infection among the remaining crew.
Media reports have highlighted the plight of these and other ships with sick passengers and / or crew members being removed from ports where they could receive medical treatment. The situation was exacerbated when the United States Coast Guard issued a Security Bulletin March 29 order all foreign-flagged vessels over 50 passengers to prepare for care “For people with SG [influenza-like illnesses] for an indefinite period. ”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of the travel industry, experts agree that the cruise industry, in particular, will have to fundamental changes restore consumer confidence.
For more information from the CDC on COVID-19 and cruise ships, see: