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Port of Cork agrees to temporary suspension of cruise line operations amid Covid-19 crisis

Cruise liners that were due to berth between now and 20 April have been cancelled.

THE PORT OF Cork has agreed a temporary suspension of operations with cruise lines as a result of the escalating global Covid-19 outbreak.

Cruise liners that were due to berth between now and 20 April have been cancelled. Cruise operations in the following months are now in question. 

The Port has welcomed clarity from the cruise lines in relation to the cancellations, with these decisions being taken in the best interests of public safety. 

CEO of the Port of Cork, Brendan Keating says they are obviously disappointed that this year’s cruise season has been impacted by Covid19. 

However, he says they fully respect the decision of the cruise companies to cancel these calls in the interests of public health. 

“There will be a significant impact on the local community through loss of business, and we fully support Government initiatives to help those businesses trade through difficult times.” 

Freight operations are continuing, and the Port expects to accommodate all scheduled vessels in the weeks ahead.  

Staff members and visitors at the Port are adopting best practice in terms of social distancing, and as a precaution, inbound ships are subject to strict new guidelines as outlined in a notice to mariners. The schedule of freight arrivals at the Port of Cork is unaffected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

 These inbound vessels will carry a range of goods including standard containers, fertiliser, crude oil, and animal feed.

Meanwhile, the first cruise ship of the 2020 season in the Port of Cork docked in Ringaskiddy last Friday amid much controversy after passengers were originally due to disembark in Cobh.

The Port of Cork faced criticism overnight when the  MV Saga Sapphire arrived in Ringaskiddy instead of in Cobh as was originally scheduled.

The MV Saga Sapphire had up to 700 passengers and a further 400 crew. Its passengers boarded buses for short excursions in Cork to areas such as Blarney. 

Spokesperson for the Ringaskiddy Residents Association, Braham Brennan, claimed the cruise liner was dumped on the people of Ringaskiddy as it wasn’t wanted in Cobh. 

In a statement last week the Pork of Cork said all the necessary precautions were put in place.  

The Port of Cork had a record season for cruise liner visits last year with 100 vessels bringing nearly a quarter of a million passengers and crew to the region. 

The visits are worth millions to the local economy as research found cruise ship passengers spend an average of €81 during their visit to Cork, while crew spend approximately €29. The vast majority dock at the cruise liner terminal on the deepwater quay in Cobh.

Olivia Kelleher
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