GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Another cruise ship is docking at the Port of Gulfport to allow crew members on board the chance to get off the ship and return to their homes.
The Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas vessel arrived in Gulfport Tuesday.
Port officials said that crew members on board the ship that have completed their employment contract will be allowed to get off the vessel so they can be repatriated to their home countries. There are no other passengers besides crew members aboard the ship.
The article stated, “The students’ family was contacted by the Royal Caribbean cruise line Friday and informed that the cruise line is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ‘investigate two confirmed cases of COVID-19 that may be associated with travel aboard the Majesty of the Seas on February 29th, 2020.’”
CBP Director of Field Operations, Steven Stavinoha, acknowledged health concerns and addressed them in a statement.
“Our shared goal is to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved,” said Stavinoha. “Our CBP officers will maintain situational awareness throughout the entire process.”
Port officials also stressed that all of the crew members set to get off the ship received health screenings Monday and no one showed any signs of being ill.
Once off the ship, the crew members will go through the standard U.S. Customs departure procedures for vessels docked in port, which will include any crew members who need to undergo immigration repatriation procedures with Customs.
They will then be taken to New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport by a chartered transportation service arranged by the cruise line.
Port of Gulfport Executive Director Jonathan Daniels told WLOX that there were initially around 300 crew members set to debark the ship. However, that number has drastically reduced to the limited availability of flights out of New Orleans.
There are a total of 891 crew members currently aboard the Majesty of the Seas.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Gulfport is supporting our Department of State and CDC partners in facilitating the disembarkation of these crew members as smoothly and expeditiously as possible,” said Rodolpho Chacon, CBP Gulfport Director.
“This is a joint effort between the Port of Gulfport and CBP to ensure that all maritime activities are taking place in accordance with federal law and that we are able to accommodate the needs of Royal Caribbean,” said Jonathan Daniels, Port of Gulfport executive director and CEO.
The arrival of the Majesty of the Seas follows Carnival Cruise Lines’ announcement on March 15 that Carnival Valor and Carnival Freedom would be docking at the Port of Gulfport during the company’s voluntary month-long pause of its operations.
The public should expect to see the cruise vessels in and out of the port over the coming weeks as they take this downtime in the industry to conduct crew training exercises and maintenance on the vessels.