Three cruise ships will be laid up at the Port of Oakland in the U.S. while the U.S. embargoes cruise operations.
According to the Port, two Norwegian Cruise Line vessels will tie up at Oakland’s Outer Harbor Terminal, which is currently not in use for the Port’s container shipping business. Another will dock at Howard Terminal on the Oakland Estuary. That terminal is no longer considered large enough for container operations. The ships could remain at berth for two to three months, according to the cruise line.
The first two vessels are scheduled to arrive May 9. The third is expected May 10. The port said it has not received reports of any cases of coronavirus associated with the vessels.
The port is making berth space available because approximately 100 cruise ships worldwide are seeking safe harbor. An estimated 80,000 crew members are aboard passenger liners at sea waiting to tie up. Other U.S. ports, for example some in Florida and Virginia, are already providing berth space for cruise ships.
The cruise operator said the ships would be managed by small crews. There are no plans for crew members to disembark in Oakland. If crew members must disembark, the cruise line would have to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control which requires the submitting of a disembarkation plan to state, federal and port authorities.
No passengers would be on board when the ships arrive nor would the vessels conduct passenger operations while in Oakland.
Oakland doesn’t serve passenger liners, but in March, it provided an emergency berth to the cruise ship Grand Princess. Hundreds of passengers disembarked from that ship, some who tested positive for COVID-19.
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