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BVI Ports Authority books Royal Caribbean ships for warm layup

Grandeur of the Seas, left, and Rhapsody of the Seas, are booked for initial 30-day wam lay-ups
The British Virgin Islands Ports Authority agreed to allow two Royal Caribbean ships to berth for an initial 30-day period of warm layup.

The ships are Grandeur of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas.

They are the first announced since permission was granted for the BVI Ports Authority to handle technical calls and warm layups at its seaports.

Acting BVI Ports Authority Managing Director Oleanvine Maynard noted the ships will berth exclusively to refuel, take on provisions and spare parts, and possibly for other services.

No disembarkation

Crew will not be allowed to disembark and there will be no access to the ships from shore-based staff.

The BVI Ports Authority's cruise pier is a secure zone and persons are not permitted to pass the security gate area, which is manned.

'As agents for Royal Caribbean, we are indeed pleased to have two of its vessels calling in Tortola,' said Patricia Romney, director of operations for Romasco Group. 'We are grateful to the Virgin Islands government for creating a path to assist our cruise partners during these critical times.'

Royal Caribbean Group delivered a detailed presentation about warm layup procedures to the BVI Ports Authority.

Hernan Zini, VP worldwide operations for Royal Caribbean Group, expressed gratitude to the government and people of the British Virgin Islands in welcoming the ships so critical services can be provided.

'As we face this challenging time together, our first priority is the health and safety of the communities we visit and our crew members,' Zini said. 'We all look forward to the day when we can resume sailing and return with our guests to visit the beautiful destination and warm people of the BVI.'

Economic benefits

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

The BVI Ports Authority said that maintaining a link with and continuing to service the cruise industry in the safe manner proposed for technical calls/warm layups can be a 'vital part of the rebooting strategy.'

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