Three Cruise Ships Dock in Oakland
Three cruise ships will idle at the Port of Oakland without passengers while cruise operations are suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the port said Friday. The .
Two Norwegian Cruise Line vessels, Regatta and Norwegian Jewel, have tied up at Oakland’s Outer Harbor Terminal, which is currently not in use for the port’s container shipping business. Another, Seven Seas Mariner, is docked at Howard Terminal on the Oakland Estuary, no longer considered large enough for container operations. The ships could remain at berth for two to three months, according to the cruise line.
All three ships are manned by small crews, and the port said it has not received reports of any cases of coronavirus associated with the vessels.
Oakland joins a number of ports globally -- including several in Florida and Virginia -- who have made space available for approximately 100 cruise ships worldwide seeking safe harbor. An estimated 80,000 crew members are said to be aboard passenger liners at sea waiting to tie up.
The Port of Oakland said it regularly provides berth space to cargo ships in long-term lay-ups. The ships are located at sites not actively used for vessel operations, it added.
“We’re a container port, but we’re still in the shipping business,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan. “These ships are under federal requirements to report health concerns, and we understand that they haven’t had a history of coronavirus, so we’ll do what we can to help.”
There are no plans for crew members to disembark in Oakland, the port said. If crew members must disembark, the cruise line would have to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control first, the port said. That would require submitting a disembarkation plan to state, federal and port authorities.
The U.S. government has banned cruise operations at U.S. ports during the coronavirus pandemic after numerous cruise ships globally have reported exposure to coronavirus. Most cruise lines globally have suspended operations.
Oakland doesn’t serve passenger liners, but in March, it provided an emergency berth to the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship Grand Princess in March. Hundreds of passengers disembarked from that ship, including some who tested positive for COVID-19.