The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has announced an extension of a No Sail Order for more than 100 cruise ships along with some modifications.
CDC Announces Extension to No Sail Order
Due to the current health pandemic in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control CDC has announced an extension to its No Sail Order which affects all cruise ships in its jurisdiction. The measure first went into effect on March 14, 2020
This means no cruise ships will be able to sail and must cease operations until further notice in United States waters. Cruise Lines must provide a comprehensive plan to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak which is approved by the CDC and U.S. Coast Guard. The cruise lines must not rely on the government and implement their own support measures.
In the release from the CDC it stated “This Order shall continue in operation until the earliest of three situations. First, the expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency. Second, the CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations. Or third, 100 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.”
CDC Director Robert Redfield, said:
“We are working with the cruise line industry to address the health and safety of crew at sea as well as communities surrounding U.S. cruise ship points of entry,”
“The measures we are taking today to stop the spread of COVID-19 are necessary to protect Americans, and we will continue to provide critical public health guidance to the industry to limit the impacts of COVID-19 on its workforce throughout the remainder of this pandemic.”
The no sail order also means cruise ships are not allowed to disembark passengers or crew at ports except if given permission by the Coast Guard. A situation such as urgent medical medevac may be allowed depending on consultation by the Coast Guard. Cruise ships will have to continue to follow the pandemic procedures in place by the U.S. authorities including while docked in port.
Here are the measures in place by the CDC:
- monitoring of passengers and crew medical screenings;
- training crew on COVID-19 prevention;
- managing and responding to an outbreak on board; and
- submitting a plan to USCG and CDC for review
These are the new additional measured announced:
- Cruise ship operators are not allowed to disembark travelers (passengers or crew) at ports or stations, except as directed by the USCG, in consultation with HHS/CDC personnel, and as appropriate, as coordinated with federal, state, and local authorities.
- Cruise ship operators should not embark or re-embark any crew member, except as approved by the USCG, in consultation with HHS/CDC personnel, until further notice.
- While in port, cruise ship operators shall observe health precautions directed by HHS/CDC personnel.
- The cruise ship operator should comply with all HHS/CDC, USCG, and other federal agency instructions to follow CDC recommendations and guidance for any public health actions relating to passengers, crew, ship, or any article or thing onboard the ship, as needed, including by making ship’s manifests and logs available and collecting any specimens for COVID-19 testing.
The CDC has announced that in recent weeks at least 10 cruise ships reported crew or passengers that tested positive for COVID-19 or experienced flu-like symptoms. There are currently 100 cruise ships remaining at sea around the United States with almost 80,000 crew members still on board. There are also 20 cruise ships at port or anchorage in the U.S. with known or potential COVID 19 cases among the crew members.
Cruise Lines have already announced a suspension of operations around the world with extensions running through early May. If the pandemic is not controlled there could be another extension on this.