The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended the ‘no sail order’ on Thursday that it issued in March to reportedly help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Although the March 14th order was issued as a voluntary measure to remain active for 30 days, the new one could allegedly last longer. The CDC said that cruise ships could not board passengers and return to their schedules until either there’s an expiration of the declaration that COVID-19 is a public health emergency, the CDC director will modify of revoking the no-sail decision, or 100 days pass from the time the new measure is published in the Federal Register.
Until one of those events happens, the approximately 100 cruise ships in the Atlantic, Pacific, or the Gulf of Mexico have to remain static, either in port or stuck at anchor, as per the CDC. Those ships are packed with about 80,000 people on board.
“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,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield in a statement.
One Ship is Still in Operation
Cruise ship range has already called off most operations, leaving an incredible number of ships at sea with passengers on board, and many have had a hard time finding ports that will enable their passengers to disembark. One ship that is still in operation is Princess Cruises’ Pacific Princess, on the way to Hawaii and then to Los Angeles with 115 people on board, after shorting the cruise in Australia.
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the trade group owning more than 24 companies, decided to work with the government agencies. In a statement made by Bari Golin-Blaugrund, the group’s senior director of strategic communications, the organization showed concern about the unintentional outcomes of the order in its ‘singling out an industry that has been proactive in its escalation of health and sanitation protocols, including the aforementioned proposals, as well as transparent in its reporting despite numerous challenges beyond the industry’s control.’