Spain Lifts Ban So That International Cruise Ships Can Dock In Its Ports

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The evolution of the pandemic and vaccination allow the restart of activity on June 7 with health measures. It will be necessary to pass previous tests, not to exceed 70-75% of capacity and to have spaces to face possible infections or quarantines.

Holidays at sea will once again include Barcelona and the rest of the Spanish cruise ports after almost a year of inactivity. The Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (Mitma), by means of a Resolution of the General Directorate of the Merchant Marine (DGMM) that has been published this Saturday in the Official State Gazette (BOE), has lifted the prohibition for cruise ships international passengers can dock in Spanish ports as of June 7 . Thus, it echoes the demands that both the port and the city council had claimed in the case of the Catalan capital to relaunch this tourism sector.

The favorable evolution of the pandemic in the European territory, from where most of the passengers of international cruise ships with stopovers in Spanish ports come, the increase in the population vaccinated against covid-19 and the decrease in the incidence in the autonomous communities with Ports likely to receive this type of ship have been the keys that allow the restart of the activity with international calls and destination to Spanish ports.

Sanitary measures
The DGMM resolution determines the sanitary measures that cruise-type passenger ships with international routes must comply with and that navigate through territorial waters in order to enter Spanish ports. The objective of these is to prevent incidents related to the pandemic and to be able to manage possible infections between the passage .

The resolution nullifies the one adopted on June 23, 2020, when the prohibition of cruise activity was established. The news has been received with “great satisfaction” by the Port of Barcelona , where they announce that they will continue working with the authorities and shipping companies to resume operations in a few days. It should be remembered that in ItalyThey are already working and in France they will return on June 30.

According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), in 2019 international cruises contributed around 2,800 million euros to the national GDP and generated some 50,000 jobs and 1,500 million euros in salaries.

Controls detail
Under the name ‘Sanitary measures for the reestablishment of international cruises’, general and specific rules are established to guarantee the safety of the passage, such as the daily temperature measurement and the performance of diagnostic tests on the third or fourth day of the cruise to all passengers.

As a general criterion, adequate protocols should be applied to prevent the embarkation of infected people, reduce the probability of transmission on board , detect cases early and handle them properly until they disembark, as well as identify and quarantine their close contacts.

All passengers aged 6 and over must undergo an RT-PCR or equivalent molecular technique within 72 hours prior to boarding, or a rapid antigen test on the same day of departure. Passengers who have been vaccinated with a complete schedule must provide the vaccination certificate.

Another fundamental line will be to limit contact between people . For this, groups must be established, each of which will have different schedules for food, embarkation and disembarkation and participation in activities.

In addition, during the itinerary a daily temperature measurement will be carried out on all people, as well as a visual evaluation to detect possible symptoms. In situations of suspected transmission, its frequency can be increased. It is also stipulated that new tests be carried out on the third or fourth day on board to detect possible cases.

Each shipping company must assume a procedure that includes the designation of a person on board as directly responsible for its application, as well as not exceed 70-75% of the maximum capacity while the emergency situation continues, avoid sleeping more than two crew members in the same cabin, have the capacity on the ship to perform diagnostic tests on boardas well as agreements to do them on land and have adequate spaces in case of need (medical facilities with sufficient capacity and designated areas for the isolation of cases that do not require medical attention, and for the quarantine of close contacts until they disembark) , have personal protective equipment (PPE) on board, cleaning and disinfection routines with details of the products to be used, and also a description of the ventilation system in the interior spaces of the ship.

As an auction, in case of registering cases on board, all the derived costs must be covered by the shipping company through the subscription of an insurance policy that includes agreements with health centers.