Greece is ready to open six ports for cruise ships

Jul 28, 2020

The Greek Tourism Minister, Haris Theoharis, announced today that after four months of lockdown due to the global pandemic, cruise ships will be allowed to operate in Greek ports starting from August 1, 2020.

Athens News Agency (ANA) reports that the Greek Tourism Minister, informed members of the International Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) that six ports will reopen for cruise ship arrivals includeing Piraeus, Rhodes, Heraklion, Volos, Katakolon, and Corfu.

"All cruise ships are welcome in Greece, in order to offer a unique experience to all passengers," the minister said in a letter. "Greece is the first country that responds to the cruise industry and introduces health protocols especially for this form of tourism. The health procedures that will be applied under the supervision of the Greek authorities on cruise ships, are based on the published standards of the European Union (EU Healthy Gateways), while they have been adapted to Greek legislation and the domestic figures."

Cruise lines will have to implement sanitary regulations required by the Greek authorities, which are based on the EU guidelines (EU Healthy Gateways). Theoharis stipulated that the rules governing the operation of cruise lines may change only if new epidemiological conditions arise.

Greek Coast Guard officials said that they are ready to accept the first cruise ships, although it is still not known when they will arrive.

Each cruise ship must develop and implement a maritime contingency plan that must be submitted to at least one of the ports of destination (preferably the home port) in order to review and ensure - functionality of the emergency plan at sea the ship with the emergency plan of the port (for disembarkation, isolation, quarantine, repatriation, etc.).

If the port to which the emergency plan of the ship has been submitted is outside Greece, then there must be a written assurance that the review of the plan and its interoperability with the port of the other country has been secured, which will be sent to the local Health and Port Authority and the port (destination) management body.

Before starting cruises to Greece, companies should check and ensure that it is possible to repatriate its crew members.

In addition, companies are advised to develop repatriation plans taking into account different scenarios for the partial or complete repatriation of all crew members and passengers. This should be explicitly mentioned in both the ship's contingency plan and the contingency plan of one of the ports of destination.