Cruise ships in COVID-19 limbo off California coast

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SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Several cruise ships remain docked or anchored in San Diego waters with thousands of employees stuck onboard.

Since March, cruise ships have been under a no-sail order imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has stopped all cruise ship operations in the U.S.

Some of the vessels have remained anchored in the Pacific Ocean and can easily be seen by people onshore. In fact, the vessels have become a familiar sight for beachgoers.

Tourists, for the most part, have been taken off the ships, although employees have remained on board. Both employees and tourists have tested positive for the coronavirus and have been quarantined on the ships; a few required medical attention.

When ships dock, crew members are not allowed to disembark except to take flights home, which have been hard to come by, especially for workers who live in places such as India and the Philippines.

According to the Port of San Diego, the U.S. Coast Guard, CDC, San Diego County Health and Human Services and CBP have worked with the cruise lines to get asymptomatic crew members off the ships.

“The agencies are ensuring that strict health protocols are in place, each crew member is required to complete a health questionnaire and temperature checks are performed prior to disembarking; and each crew member is provided with and is required to wear a mask,” according to the Port of San Diego’s online “COVID-19 response.”

Celebrity Cruise Lines’ Millennium is one of several cruise ships anchored off San Diego’s coast.
(Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

The cruise ships are expected to remain in limbo until July, but as to when they might begin operating again, it’s not clear.

Port of San Diego’s Cruise Ship Terminal. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

In the meantime, ships are likely to remain anchored just off the coast in cities like San Diego due to the fact cruise lines can avoid port fees by staying away from harbors. They only come in when they need fuel or supplies.

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