Friday, May 29, 2020

British Columbia's Large vessel Cruise season is over for 2020, with Federal ban to continue through to October

The Northland Cruise Terminal will be a good place for physical distancing
this summer, that as the Federal Government brings an end to the
2020 Cruise season, banning port visits until October

When it comes to Prince Rupert's still developing cruise industry, 2020 will be marked as the year that there were no Large Cruise Ship port calls on the North Coast.

Any thoughts for the potential of a short summer season featuring cruise ship visitors came to an end this morning as Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced that the Federal Government was extending the ban from March on Cruise ships in Canadian ports until October at least.

The move a continuation of the Federal Governments response to the COVID pandemic.

In the Information release it was noted that:

Cruise ships with overnight accommodations allowed to carry more than 100 persons are prohibited from operating in Canadian waters until October 31, 2020. 

In 2019 each of the 22 vessel calls on the schedule held more than 100 passengers, 9 of those that called on Prince Rupert hosted more than 500 guests per trip.

For any vessel operators with less than 100 passengers the regulations note that as of July 1, 2020, all other passenger vessels must follow provincial, territorial, local and regional health authority requirements for timelines and processes to resume operations.

Any vessel owners which do not comply with the prohibitions could be subject to a penalty of $5,000 per day for an individual and $25,000 per day for a corporation.

Considering British Columbia's current themes on non-essential travel, it seems unlikely that even those smaller vessels would find a welcome berth at BC facilities this summer, should they show up unexpectedly.

“Our Government is committed to protecting Canadians, particularly during these challenging times. It is for that reason I am announcing updated measures for cruise ships and other passenger vessels in Canada, which includes prohibiting larger cruise ships from operating in Canadian waters until October 31, 2020. 

Our Government continues to work with other levels of government, transportation industry stakeholders, and Indigenous peoples to re-examine measures and to ensure Canada’s transportation system remains safe and secure during this time. We are all in this together.” -- Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

As the day moved forward, the British Columbia government also hailed the federal move.

The Prince Rupert Cruise season is normally underway by the end of May, however any plans for Port visits this summer were put on hold as the COVID pandemic began to spread across the nation

The news probably won't come as too much of a surprise to the Prince Rupert Port Authority, which operates the Prince Rupert Northland Cruise Terminal and has been a key partner in trying to rebuild the cruise industry in the city.

Since the Federal government began it's response to the COVID pandemic, the prospect of any kind of cruise season for Canadian ports seemed like an unlikely one, with concerns over transmission of the coronavirus guiding the message since March.

For more notes on today's announcement see the Federal background page here.

A wider overview of the Prince Rupert Cruise Ship industry and past port call visits can be found here.

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