Costa Winds Down Port Calls in Italy Due to National Quarantine

Costa Serena in Venice (file image)

Published Mar 10, 2020 7:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

Costa Crociere, Carnival Corporation's Italian brand, is winding down its port calls in Italy in line with the Italian government's new coronavirus quarantine measures.

Italy has about 10,000 confirmed cases and 630 deaths from COVID-19 so far, and the government has instituted a strict nationwide lockdown in an attempt to limit the disease's spread. 

Costa brand cruises that are currently underway will call at Italian ports only to allow guests to disembark and return to their homes, with no excursions or new embarkations. The company is informing all guests affected by these changes and offering them a future cruise credit.

Costa says that it has already canceled all outgoing Italian guests departing from cruises outside the Mediterranean in an effort to contain risks. Over the past week, two Costa cruise ships were refused entry by overseas port state control officials due to the presence of Italian passengers on board. 

"As an Italian company and the only cruise operator flying the Italian flag, we are committed to guarantee compliance with the regulations and support to the Italian authorities and the community in this extraordinary effort to face the current situation of emergency" said Neil Palomba, president of Costa Crociere.

In addition to these control measures, people who have been in China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea or Iran in the 14 days prior to boarding are not allowed on board Costa ships.

Costa Fortuna disembarks

The cruise ship Costa Fortuna, which was turned away from Thailand and Malaysia after port officials learned that 64 Italian nationals were on board, has now fully disembarked her passengers in Singapore. All 1,600 passengers are off the ship and have been taken to the airport or to their respective hotels. They will be returning to their home countries within a short timespan, according to the government of Singapore. 

Singaporean officials said that the vessel was allowed to berth because she was returning to her home port. "The passengers were already in Singapore, they had arrived in Singapore and embarked on the cruise in Singapore with the intention to come back to Singapore. I don't think it would be right for us to reject the ship if they were to come back to Singapore," said national development minister Lawrence Wong. "That's why we agreed to accept them and we took extra precautions, as we have done for all cruise ships."

"The broader question is, what should we do with cruise ships going forward? And there I think we'll have to look at it from a broader context of looking at the overall risk situation, and also the appropriate measures that we want to put in place," he added.