Report: Three Cruise Workers at Port Everglades Have Coronavirus

Port Everglades' cruise terminals (file image)

Published Mar 10, 2020 8:56 PM by The Maritime Executive

Metro Cruise Services, a provider of ship's agency and terminal operations services for the American cruise industry, said Tuesday that three of its part-time employees at Port Everglades have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The individuals worked at more than one cruise terminal at the port, providing embarkation services. All are senior citizens, according to the Florida Department of Health. 

“We were unaware that any of our part-time employees were sick until we were notified by the authorities,” said Metro Cruise Services President Anthony Newman. “We then immediately notified all of our Port Everglades employees that one of their associates had tested positive and advised them that, if they have any symptoms, they should seek medical assistance and not report to work. We are assisting all relevant governmental agencies with their inquiries and instructions. The health and safety of our workforce and those they encounter remain our top priority."

According to recent job advertisements posted by the company, part-time embarkation services employees for Metro Cruise Services fulfill a variety of roles, including front-line customer service tasks like helping passengers check in, arrange ground transportation and handle luggage. 

In a statement, the Florida Department of Health said that it recommends that all individuals experiencing symptoms who have recently traveled through Port Everglades should immediately contact their health care provider and self-isolate for two weeks. It also recommends that all employees of Metro Cruise Services who came into contact with the known positive cases should self-isolate at home, and it is contacting these individuals to connect them with appropriate guidance. The company has about 150 employees at Port Everglades, officials told local media.  

An official estimate of the number of individual passengers and employees who may have come into contact with the known cases at Port Everglades has not been released. However, it may be possible to calculate a rough upper limit: Metro Cruise Services worked exclusively for Princess Cruises at Port Everglades, a spokeswoman for the port told local media.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel estimated that if added all together, the Princess sailings departing Port Everglades between February 12 and March 6 would have had a combined maximum capacity of about 50,000 guests and crew. The vessels operating out Port Everglades during that timespan include Caribbean Princess, Regal Princess, Sky Princess, Crown Princess and Island Princess.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with state officials to investigate the new cluster of cases. Broward County has declared a "Level 2" state of emergency in response to the newly discovered cases, allowing it to access more resources from the state.