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The Port Of Barcelona Will See A Safe, Staggered And Sustainable Resumption Of Cruise Ship Activity

The Port of Barcelona will see a safe, staggered and sustainable resumption of cruise ship activity

Source: Barcelona Port
The Port of Barcelona has worked with the shipping companies and the rest of the agents in the cruise sector to have a staggered, sustainable and, above all, safe resumption of activity, both for the crews and for the passengers, for the workers of the Port Community and for the citizens of Barcelona – June 29, 2021 The cruise companies that usually operate in the
Port of Barcelona will be arriving progressively, with MSC Cruises and its MSC Grandiosa inaugurating this year’s season today, 26 June. Subsequently, TUI’s Mein Schiff 2 is scheduled to arrive on 29 June; Costa Cruises’ Costa Smeralda on 5 July and Aida Cruises’ AidaPerla on 9 July. It will not be until August that ships from the American companies will begin to arrive. The first will be the Harmony of the Seas, of Royal Caribbean, on the 15th of that month. The arrival of the American companies will facilitate the normalisation of flights to the United States from El Prat Airport, connections that were halted due to the pandemic. “As Port, we are aware of our responsibility to guarantee public health. Therefore, we considered that the resumption of activity had to be done when the figures for contagion and vaccination in Spain allowed it”, explains Carla Salvadó, Deputy Director General for Commercial and Marketing at the Port of Barcelona. As for the forecast for the number of stopovers for the season, “we cannot yet give a number because at the moment we are still working with the shipping companies to introduce ships little by little. And we have worked to bring to the Port of Barcelona the least polluting ships sailing at the moment”, adds the Port’s management. Health guarantees As for the health measures implemented by the cruise industry, both ports and cruise terminals and shipping companies have worked for months to achieve the protocols with the highest standards for the safety of passengers, crew and, of course, the inhabitants of the cities. On the part of the Port of Barcelona and the terminals, “the work done so far allows us to guarantee the safety of passengers, crews, port workers and citizens from a health point of view. But also to guarantee that the operation of the ships, despite the new existing protocols, will be agile and that the infrastructures and services will work perfectly”, says Carla Salvadó. The protocol to be followed by the Port of Barcelona is the one agreed by the Spanish Ministry of Health. Apart from basic hygiene measures, such as the use of masks, hydroalcoholic gel and safety distance, cruise companies are obliged to report on their health plan, approved by the flag state, and guarantee its implementation. This includes specific information on the ship’s health facilities and on-board diagnostic capabilities; and information on the cruise line’s procedures prior to passenger embarkation, among other information. The shipping company is also obliged to have insurance for passengers and crew members, which will cover all the costs of accommodation, food and medical care for asymptomatic infected persons who do not require hospitalisation. The same applies to close contacts who need to be quarantined. And hospitalisation of COVID-19 positive cases where necessary. This coverage includes all transport needs, including air ambulance transfers and repatriation if necessary, and guarantees that in no case will the public health system be collapsed. This was explained by Fernando Pacheco, general manager of MSC Cruises in Spain, who also pointed out that the MSC Grandiosa “is one of the most modern and environmentally advanced ships in our fleet”. Pacheco explained that, at the end of July, the MSC Seashore is scheduled to leave the shipyard and that at the beginning of August this ship, the most technological of the shipping line, will be positioned in Barcelona to make trips around the Mediterranean. The terminals also have their own sanitary measures for passengers, as well as protocols for disinfecting luggage and facilities once each operation has been completed. Ventilation, disinfection and the correct distribution of passenger flows will be key to the process. Improvements in port During the months that cruise activity has been paralysed, the Port of Barcelona has not stopped, taking the opportunity to carry out improvement works in the area of the Adossat quay destined for this traffic. Thus, 2.6 million euros have been invested in improving the mooring system at the cruise terminals to increase berthing safety. Work has also been carried out to improve accessibility to the area, enlarging Gate 2 access to the Adossat quay, doubling the access controls or sentry boxes and moving and remodelling the traffic distribution roundabout at all the cruise terminals. These works have involved an investment of 1.22 million euros. On the other hand, with regard to the extension of the Adossat quay, a complex, long-term project, the consolidation of the third phase was carried out between February 2020 and April 2021. This is a work that makes possible the construction of the new cruise terminal awarded to MSC at the Port’s last Board of Directors meeting. The investment in this case was 2.6 million euros. More than 9,000 jobs The cruise ships arriving this year will be a very important boost for the recovery of a sector that has suffered a tremendous crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an industry that employs more than 9,000 people in Barcelona and has an annual turnover in Catalonia of 1,083 million euros, with a contribution to the Catalan GDP of 562 million euros per year. In 2019, cruise passengers accounted for 10.4% of the tourists who stayed overnight in the destination of Barcelona. And they made a much higher contribution to the area’s economy than the average for the area as a whole. The average expenditure of visitors who stayed overnight in 2019 in this destination was 69.9 euros per day. Spending by home port cruise passengers is estimated at 230 euros per person per day. And in the case of cruise passengers in transit, for an average of 4 hours spent at the destination, they spend 57 euros per person. In 2019, 57% of the cruise passengers who passed through the Port of Barcelona were from the home port. Source: Autoritat Portuària de Barcelona (APB – Port Authority of Barcelona)

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