PORT ST. MAARTEN – The cruise industry is closely monitoring an outbreak in China of a new Coronavirus. A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
Port St. Maarten is working closely with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and its cruise partners with respect to protocols being put in place with respect to the safety of cruise passengers and crew.
“Sint Maarten’s constant proactivity and communication with FCCA and our Member Lines have again assured that the destination is well-prepared to handle a potential outbreak, as unlikely as it may be with the cruise industry actively monitoring the situation through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) and having both pre-boarding measures and onboard protocols for handling infectious disease, many of which go above and beyond those required by CDC and WHO,” President of the FCCA Michele Paige said on Sunday.
The cruise industry through the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) regulatory arm, are in continuous discussions with the CDC and the WHO with respect to what recommendations and advice the aforementioned would give to the global travel industry.
The WHO has already indicated based on current information about the virus, that there are no global travel restrictions on travel and trade.
Destination St. Maarten is a very important cruise destination having welcomed over 1.6 million cruise passengers (1,631,537) and 565 cruise ship calls in 2019.
“The safety of the local population, cruise passengers and crew are of paramount importance, and therefore the port will continue to work with the FCCA and all cruise partners to ensure that various protocols as recommended by the cruise industry are implemented, as well as with Emergency Support Function (ESF-10), the St. Maarten Shipping & Maritime Inspectorate, and Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour (Ministry VSA) where an existing working relationship for health pre-clearance protocols is already in place for visiting cruise ships,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Sunday.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
The FCCA is a not-for-profit trade organisation composed of 19 Member Lines operating over 100 vessels in Floridian, the Caribbean and Latin American waters.
Created in 1972, the FCCA provides a forum for discussion on tourism development, ports, safety, security, and other cruise industry issue and builds bilateral relationships with destinations' private and public sectors.
By fostering an understanding of the cruise industry and its operating practices, the FCCA works with governments, ports and private sector representatives to maximize cruise passenger, crew and cruise line spending, as well as enhance the destination experience and increase the amount of cruise passengers returning as stay-over visitors.