There are confinements and confinements twice as many as maritime. After the decision of the bulk of the cruise companies canceling all your trips and waiting for better times for the sector, hundreds of passenger ships have been anchored or moored in different parts of the world, keeping their crews on board after disembarking their passengers.
Faced with an unexpected and unprecedented situation in the sector, since the impact is worldwide, the shipping companies that have stopped making pleasure trips have opted to reconvert their boats in residences long stay for your crews. The logistical complications of sending personnel to their places of origin and returning them when ships are operational again, when there is no real timetable for the situation, have meant that for now, personnel is still on board, although in a very different way.
With the exception of the officers, who have cabins near the command bridge, in most ships, the crew has their rest areas concentrated on the lower bridges to optimize space and because the work regime on board is intensive in different regimes that combine months on board and months on land, always depending on the professional category.
In this exceptional situation and in order to compensate the situation, with the ships fully operational, although without passage, practically all the shipping companies have chosen to open all their spaces to the crew after checking that everyone’s health is good: now they have Available from gyms to restaurants or pools reserved for tourists under normal circumstances.
The digital magazine Cruise Critic, one of the references in the sector, recalls these days several actions carried out by different shipping companies such as Celebrity, where crew members go from being installed in shared cabins with berths to having cabins with an exterior terrace and even on ships such as the Celebrity Edge, have been raffled the best suites among all employees on board.
Similar actions are being carried out in other companies such as Royal Caribbean, where the crew has become clients of their own colleagues, as well as Holland America Line, Costa or Carnival, the parent of the world’s largest cruise holding company, from which they hang 10 companies and more than a hundred ships.
They are all in the same today situation: waiting, with their managers waiting let the storm pass and the officers of each ship keeping the morale high, as they tell The vanguard by email and telephone different crew members of all professional categories embarked in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean or Asia, not only from Carnival companies but from shipping companies of all sizes and nationalities.
In addition to having lively and motivated crews on board, some shipping companies have their ships ready and have made them available to different authorities in case of emergency for their conversion into floating hospitals. An example of this is the MSC group, one of the largest container carriers in the world, which continues to operate, as well as its subsidiary of GNV ferries, although not its division of tourist ships: MSC Cruises.
At the port of GenoaMSC has one of its largest ferries moored these days, the Splendid, from its subsidiary Grandi Navi Veloci, dedicated to transporting passengers, vehicles, and trucks between different ports in the Mediterranean. Thanks to an agreement with the city of Genoa and the Liguria region, the company has made available to both authorities the Splendid as a floating hospital up to 400 beds which has been in operation since March 20. At a nearby dock, this corporation also has another of its ships moored, this time a cruise ship, the MSC Opera, which could also be a hospital ship provided by the shipping company if necessary.
MSC Cruises has declined to make any consideration regarding this transfer of boats to the authorities and contrary to the usual expansive tone of its managers and spokespersons or the large promotional campaigns that speak of its virtues as a family business, gastronomy, premiere of a private island in the Caribbean or progress in sustainability, in this case, they have preferred to focus on the effectiveness of the action and maintain a low profile, in the same way as with their collaboration with Unicef, which is reported promptly through the foundation, although there is no more publicity than necessary.
Family businesses and listed companies
For his part, Micky Arison, president of the Carnival Corporation and owner of the NBA Miami Heat, announced last Thursday that, if the authorities of different countries requested it, their boats would be available to relieve pressure on hospital facilities. Arison noted that many of its ships, operating under different brands such as Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises or P&O, are capable of providing an average of up to 1,000 cabin rooms per ship for patients with less critical conditions.
Much of the ships are already wired for high-speed networks, and remote devices to monitor patients in areas such as cardiac, oxygen, or respiration could easily be installed in rooms, relieving hospitals that would focus on patients. most critical of the Covid-19.
Carnival’s largest shareholder, a company listed on the London and New York stock exchanges, also indicated that this would have a cost, although “it would only charge for the essential costs of the ship related to the operation”, making the employees available, although clarifying that its shipping companies and its personnel would be in charge of food and beverages and cleaning, while medical services would have to be shipped by the government entity or hospitals in the area where the ships docked.
The situation in Spain
Even though it is the most important cruise port in Europe and the fourth in the world in its specialty, no ship in this sector has stayed in Barcelona to spend this time of confinement and forced the stoppage. The passenger terminals, both in the attached dock and in Barcelona, have not been active for ten days.
In the rest of the peninsula, only Malaga has a ship moored in its facilities, the Sovereign, by Pullmantur Cruises, while the Carnival Glory can be seen from different points of Cádiz and its bay, although in its case its long stop was planned in the shipyards, where it is undergoing a comprehensive modernization.
South of the bay of Palma, the Mein Schiff 4 of Tui Cruises is practically stopped and at the command of the shipowner, while its brothers, the Mein Schiff 2 and 3 cruisers are still anchored north of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, while in its port Aida Nova is moored, brother of Aida Stella, which is in the port of Luz and Las Palmas. All these ships circumstantially stopped in the Canary Islands are regular visitors to this archipelago and are specialized in the German-speaking market, a loyal customer of this destination and these shipping companies.
Ferries that don’t stop
For their part, Spanish shipping companies golden transport still at the foot of the canyon uniting the Canary and Balearic Islands together, these last islands with the peninsula and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla with the south of the or Peninsula. If on normal dates the services of Baleària, Trasmediterránea, Naviera Armas and Fred Olsen are essential to supply the islands, restricting or even banning passenger travel, their only travelers being truck and van service drivers.
Ferries have become crucial to continue maintaining a certain normal life of citizens within the absolute abnormality of this situation in places that doubly island these days due to confinement or over which there is already double insularity for much of the year.
This is the case of Formentera, where in addition to Baleària other local companies such as Trasmapi, Mediterránea Pitiusa or Formentera Cargo also sail, through its only port through which it is linked to the rest of the world as it does not have any aeronautical facility except the heliport of the local hospital, one of the few territories in Spain where so far no case of coronavirus.