Zane Kerby, president and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has issued the following statement in reaction to a number of cruise ships being denied entry to ports:
“Over the course of the past few weeks, a disturbing and anti-humanitarian trend has emerged. Multiple cruise ships at sea have been denied entry to various ports around the world for fear that some aboard might have or spread the COVID-19 virus.
“Notwithstanding the industry taking unprecedented measures to keep crew and passengers safe, and the COVID-19 virus being contained to a small number of ships, this issue persists out of apparent local government fear. Denial of port entry has occurred even when no one on board some ships has shown COVID-19 symptoms.
“As an example, a ship off Chile’s shores, after two days of haggling with local authorities, is not only being denied port entry, they are also being slow rolled the fuel and food necessary sail home to San Diego. Instead of allowing the ship to dock, provisions, including food and fuel are being slowly barged to the ship, further delaying the journey back home. While indeed local governments have a responsibility to keep their citizens safe, human decency and common-sense solutions should take precedence during these times of crisis.
“There will be life after COVID-19. Americans will cruise again in record numbers. In our view, the cruise industry should be taking careful note as to which governments, who, having welcomed them and their passengers with open arms and were happy to have them in good times, are now turning their backs with alarming speed, exacerbating an already challenging situation in order to address what in most cases is unjustified fear.”