An early morning accident at PortMiami has closed the popular homeport to all cruise and cargo traffic, creating a major impact to multiple cruise ships that are now waiting outside the channel for clearance to enter the port for docking. As yet, there is no timeline for when the port will reopen and passengers will be permitted to debark, or how delayed the next cruises may be.
Norwegian Escape, MSC Seascape, and Carnival Celebration are all impacted by the incident and are currently on hold for debarkation and embarkation for their next sailings.
Boat Collision Closes PortMiami Channel
According to local news reports, a 30-foot boat collided with the Fisher Island Ferry in the Government Cut channel at approximately 3:40 a.m. on Sunday, June 25, 2023.
One person was transported to a local hospital in serious condition, and another person was found deceased in the water at the accident scene.
Government Cut is the manmade shipping channel between Miami Beach and Fisher Island, providing a direct route between PortMiami and Biscayne Bay.
This is the exit route from PortMiami that all cruise ships use. The crash happened just east of Dodge Island, where the cruise terminals are located.
The US Coast Guard, which is responsible for the safety and security of Government Cut, has established a temporary security zone in the area that limits all incoming and outgoing marine traffic while the incident is investigated, and to be sure debris is safely cleared and will not endanger any other vessels.
Cruise Ships Delayed
Three large cruise ships are impacted by this ongoing situation: Norwegian Escape, MSC Seascape, and Carnival Celebration.
Together, the three ships, which are among the largest in their respective fleets, are carrying as many as 15,000 passengers. When counting incoming guests boarding the ships today, there are more than 30,000 travelers impacted by these delays.
As of 10 a.m., the port remains closed, and cruise travelers are being advised to wait before heading to the terminals.
“We will continue to monitor the situation,” John Heald, Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador, said. “Please do not proceed to the cruise terminal until you receive our final update. We apologize for the delay. Thanks for your cooperation and understanding.”
Text messages and emails will continue to be sent to incoming guests to keep them updated about the timing of today’s embarkation.
Onboard the Waiting Ships
Guests onboard the three delayed ships are being updated as much as possible, and each ship’s crew is working to provide additional activities and entertainment as available. Guests will be asked to vacate their staterooms in order for the housekeeping staff to turn over the rooms for the next cruise, but public areas will be available for waiting.
No food or beverage services are interrupted on the waiting cruise ships, and there are no safety concerns as the vessels wait for clearance to proceed into the port.
Norwegian Escape is completing a 7-night Caribbean sailing that included visits to the Dominican Republic, the Virgin Islands, and Great Stirrup Cay. The cruise departing today is an identical itinerary.
MSC Seascape is finishing a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise that visited the cruise line’s private island destination, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, as well as Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. Today’s departing cruise is a 7-night Eastern Caribbean sailing that is scheduled to visit the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Nassau, and Ocean Cay.
Carnival Celebration is ending an 8-night Southern Caribbean voyage that visited Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, and the ship’s next sailing is a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and St. Maarten.
At this time, there is no update as to whether or not any of the waiting ships will need to adjust their itineraries to compensate for this delay. Stay tuned to Cruise Hive for further updates on this developing story.