PORT ST. MAARTEN – The Carnival Pride cruise ship, will be arriving at Port St. Maarten on Saturday morning in connection with the repatriation of crew who are returning to their home countries in Europe.
Countries around the world have been asked by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to facilitate the safe and efficient operation of the maritime transportation system, which moves over 80 per cent of global trade.
Critical to this is the ability of shipping and cruise companies to continue conducting crew changes throughout the world while complying with restrictions and following the national guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Carnival Pride operation at Port St. Maarten entails the repatriation of crew who will be traveling to Europe on Saturday. Some of the crew are scheduled to depart the island on a commercial flight to Paris and Amsterdam.
Crew members will be bussed to the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) to directly board a charter and commercial flight.
Port St. Maarten is playing a key role in this repatriation process under humanitarian grounds, and for the overall welfare of the crew. The global shipping industry estimates that, since March 2020, only about 25 per cent of normal crew changes have taken place.
Port St. Maarten was chosen due to its strategic location in the Northeastern Caribbean as well as its international connections with airports in Europe. Also, plus points for the destination is the country’s infrastructure that caters to homeporting services therefore making the island an ideal location for international crew changes.
Other plus points for the destination is fuel bunkering and food provisioning services for the cruise industry.
All cruise vessels must adhere to stringent public health measures as well as to the rules and regulations. Port St. Maarten has a “Sterile Port Protocol” in place since mid-March with respect to COVID-19 ensuring safety and security.
The “Sterile Port Protocol” falls under the scope of the Ordinance Public Health which is part of the International Health Regulations as issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).