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Royal Caribbean International cruise ship in port to repatriate crew

Cruise ship in port to repatriate crew
14 July 2020

PHILIPSBURG--Cruise ship Independence of the Seas will be in port today, Wednesday, to repatriate her crew. This is the second cruise ship in the past week to utilise Port St. Maarten to facilitate repatriating her crew back to their home countries.

The repatriation will be carried out according to Port St. Maarten’s “Sterile Port Protocol”, which complies with national public health laws as well as international health regulations issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Independence of the Seas is owned and operated by cruise line Royal Caribbean International (RCI).

RCI suspended its cruise operations in March. The cruise line has since said its priority is to repatriate its crew members back to their home countries.

RCI recently said it has repatriated 95 per cent of its 40,000 crew as of the end of June, and this number will increase to 97 per cent by Wednesday, July 15.

“The repatriation of crew from ships has been a challenging task due to new public health and travel regulations and restrictions that were imposed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the world.

“As restrictions are slowly lifted, repatriation of crew is taking place at various ports that can handle such procedures. Port St. Maarten was chosen due to its strategic location in the North-eastern Caribbean as well as its international connections with airports around the world.

“The country’s infrastructure, such as its homeporting facility and services at Port St. Maarten, make it easy for a cruise ship to have travel documents of crews processed and then [have them – Ed.] taken directly to the airport to board their international flight.

“Other plus-points for cruise lines is the destination’s fuel bunkering and food provisioning services,” said Port St. Maarten in a press release on Tuesday afternoon.