GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The cruise ship Braemar of Fred Olsen cruise line, which is currently out at sea, has requested an emergency turn around operation at Port St. Maarten. A turnaround entails when one set of passengers departs the ship and another set embarks.
Current cruise passengers onboard the Braemar would disembark at Port St. Maarten and be transported to the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM Airport) to depart the island on three chartered flights paid for by the cruise line.
Cruise passengers – who are mainly from the United Kingdom - would arrive at SXM Airport on the three aforementioned chartered flights from La Romana, Dominican Republic and then would be transported to Port St. Maarten to board the Braemar vessel for their two-week cruise.
The public health authorities of Sint Maarten are currently waiting on an updated health declaration that meets local (Public Health Ordinance of Sint Maarten) and international (International Health Regulations IHR) public health requirements, along with detailed travel history information about the passengers for review. Cruise vessels have to submit a health declaration 12-hours prior to the cruise vessel berthing. Embarking passengers will also have to complete a health questionnaire prior to being able to board the transport coaches in La Romana, Dominican Republic before boarding a charter flight to Sint Maarten.
Port St. Maarten, SXM Airport, and the Ministry of Justice are collaborating in this process prior to making a final decision for the vessel to implement its emergency turn around operation.
As a standard and established practice, all relevant stakeholders are involved in the approval process with every cruise ship in order to uphold globally recognized security and public health protocols.
The World Health Organization (WHO) does not currently recommend any restriction of travel or trade, and the destination continues to welcome visitors.
This operation if permission is given by the Government of Sint Maarten will take place during non-peak hours at SXM Airport.
Prior to current developments, the Braemar was in port on Tuesday, February 25 on a scheduled visit at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facilities. There were two passengers with flu-like symptoms on that day.
On Thursday, the Braemar left the Dominican Republic, after local authorities refused permission for disembarkation at Port of La Romana. The cruise line believes that the refusal was the result of a very small number of influenza-like cases onboard.
On Friday there were no new cases of flu symptoms, and there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 onboard the ship at this moment.
The health of the people of Sint Maarten remains a top priority for Ministry VSA, and the Government of Sint Maarten. Precautions have been taken to safeguard health and safety of the citizens and visitors.
An additional update will be shared with the community once a decision has been taken by the Government of Sint Maarten.
Listen to the Government Radio station – 107.9FM - for official information, statements and news updates or visit the Government website: www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus or its Facebook Page: Facebook.com/SXMGOV
PHOTO CUTLINE: Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs on Saturday morning with colleague ministers Pamela Gordon-Carty (Ministry VSA), Christopher Wever (Ministry VROMI), Minister Egbert Doran (Ministry of Justice) in a meeting with representatives from SXM Airport, Port St. Maarten, and the Ministries of General Affairs, Tourist, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, Public Health, Social Development and Labour.