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British Virgin Islands now accepting cruise technical calls, warm layups

The British Virgin Islands government has agreed on conditions to allow cruise ships for short-term berthing at the BVI Ports Authority’s Cruise Pier and Port Purcell dock under strict health and safety rules.

Cruise calls remain suspended during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

No one can go ashore and no one ashore allowed on board

The allowed berthing is exclusively to take on bunkers, provisions, spare parts and other services. No crew members will be allowed to disembark, and no attendance on board the ship from shore-based staff will be permitted.

A technical call is usually of short duration, from several hours to a couple of days, while a warm layup would be for an extended period of time. A technical call implies that a vessel would be allowed pratique of short duration, from several hours to three days.

A warm or hot layup allows a vessel to be docked for longer periods. During this time the ship is out of service but can be mobilized into service at a short notice. Warm layup entails a reduced level of crewing and assumes a reduction in regular fuel consumption, repairs/maintenance costs.

Economic benefits

The economic benefits of extending technical calls or warm layups include ships carrying out refueling, repair and start-up activities in the territory before they can set sail again.

The government has created an economic task force to evaluate and prepare the BVI to be 'best positioned as we reboot the economy. The port is one of the areas which is considered critical to our economy and as such we must adapt,' Deputy Managing Director Oleanvine Maynard said.

The BVIPA believes that maintaining a link with and continuing to service the cruise industry in the safe manner proposed can be a vital part of the rebooting strategy.

Dean Fahie, acting managing director of the BVIPA. thanked the government and local shipping agents for working closely with the ports authority on this initiative. 'Cruise companies will appreciate the BVI’s reasonable stance in providing safe shelter and berthing arrangements with respect to existing restrictions and full compliance with health and safety rules,' he said.

The BVIPA manages all the territory's seaports, including the 60-foot wide, 1,312-foot long cruise pier that can berth ships up to 180,000gt.


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