Published On: Sat, Apr 11th, 2020

Cruise ships barred from sailing US waters until July

No Cruise Ships in Great Bay - Pier Walter PlantzPHILIPSBURG – The US government keeps cruise ships out of US controlled waters for at least 100 days, counting from March 14th, when the first No Sail Order was issued. There are still more than 100 cruise ships at sea, with 90.000 crew members.

The Centers for Disease Control consider all cruise ships a possible threat to public health, also those deemed virus-free. Yesterday the CDC renewed the No Sail Order and other measures related to operations signed by the CDC director on March 14, 2020, ‘to preserve human life’.

The CDC seeks to prevent crew members who are ill from the coronavirus from disembarking in the United States. The order states: “There are several public health concerns when crew members become ill while onboard these ships and the cruise lines seek the aid of the United States in disembarking them, as has already occurred on numerous occasions. The intensive care requirements for infected crew in need of life-critical care greatly stresses an already overburdened healthcare system facing shortages of masks, test kits, beds, and ventilators needed to respond to COVID-19. The addition of further COVID-19 cases from cruise ships places healthcare workers at substantial increased risk.”

As of last Saturday, there were 52,000 crew members remaining aboard 73 cruise ships either docked or anchored in or near U.S. ports, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement. Another 41,000 crew members were aboard 41 cruise ships underway close to American shores.

The CDC states that “safely evacuating, triaging, and repatriating cruise ship crew involves complex logistics, incurs financial costs at all levels of government, and diverts resources away from larger efforts to suppress or mitigate COVID-19.”

Earlier the president of the Holland America Line successfully pleaded to the US government for compassion. On April 2nd the Zaandam and a sister ship were allowed to dock in the Fort Lauderdale Port after spending two weeks at sea rejected by South American ports. The crew member, a 50-year old man from Indonesia, had been taken to a Florida hospital the same day the ship docked. The man died six days later.

The Director of CDC finds that “cruise ship travel exacerbates the global spread of COVID-19 and that the scope of this pandemic is inherently and necessarily a problem that is international and interstate in nature and has not been controlled sufficiently by the cruise ship industry or individual State or local health authorities.”

According to the CDC it is imperative that the cruise ship industry and cruise lines themselves take responsibility for the care of their crew and “do not further tax limited U.S. resources during a public health emergency.” The US government body orders all cruise ships to present an emergency plan. “Cruise ship operators shall immediately develop, implement, and within seven days of the signing of this Order operationalize, an appropriate, actionable, and robust plan to prevent, mitigate, and respond to the spread of COVID-19 on board cruise ships.”


Related links:
Cruise lines facing no bail out. no business due to Coronavirus
The renewed No Sail Order can be found here: