BEING on board a cruise ship as a member of crew nowadays is a bit like sailing on the Flying Dutchman, the legendary ghost ship doomed to sail the oceans forever.
With ports closed to them and no passengers to look after, many of these huge liners are having to stay at sea and just come into ports for what are known as ‘Technical Calls.’
This week, Gibraltar will see four such calls, one a day from May 5 to May 8 from Veendam (owned by the Holland Line), Seabourn Ovation, Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Quest (all owned by Carnival Line).
They will be berthing exclusively to take on bunkers, stores, discharge garbage/waste disposal, and transfer crew between the vessels if appropriate.
No crew members will be allowed to disembark from the vessel with the exception of those transferring from one vessel to the other, and no attendance on board the vessel from shore-based staff will be permitted during their short stays in Gibraltar.
The decision to ban the arrival of cruise ships with or without passengers except as detailed above was made by the Gibraltar government as part of its coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic strategy at an early stage.
The port is however one of the areas considered critical to the Rock’s economy and a strategy is now being put into place in order to see Gibraltar open for business again at the earliest safe opportunity.