Cruise ships are back – Life is returning to normal
The Federal Government announced in early October that the return of cruises to the Brazilian coast will take place next November, with the beginning of the 2021/2022 season. According to the Rio Grande do Norte Docks Company (Codern), the forecast is that Natal will receive six cruises during the season, with the possibility of expanding this number.
“This increase can happen at any time. But, to include our State in the routes, an effort is also necessary from the secretariats (State and Municipal Tourism) and entities linked to the sector”, explained Codern in a statement. The Company stated that a shipowner (owner, partner or charterer of a ship) will come to Natal in November to visit the port and include it in cruise routes.
According to the Company, the cruises that will arrive in Natal next season will come from Ilhéus, Recife and Macapá. The State received a cruise for the last time last year, in respect of the decree of the State Government, which spoke about measures to prevent the pandemic. “Cruises did not dock in RN to enforce State Decree No. 29,541, of March 20, 2020”, he informed.
Article 16, of Decree 29,541, established that “passengers and crew of flights and ships, from locations” where there was a record of covid-19 cases and who disembarked in potiguar territory should “submit themselves to social isolation at home for at least 14 days”, even if they did not present any symptoms related to the disease”.
Also because of the pandemic, the Maritime Passenger Terminal (TMP), which has an average maintenance cost of R$ 70 thousand per month, stopped carrying out activities such as parties and fairs, in compliance with another decree of the State Government (of March 13, 2020), which prevented mass events. “It is noteworthy that the structure houses units of Codern, the Federal Revenue, the Federal Police, the Ministry of Agriculture and that it has repairs and local security”, explained the Company in the note, to justify the average cost of maintenance.
The TMP in Natal has a total built area of 5,068.67 m². The event room has a capacity for 1,500 people and the gazebo seats another 600. The equipment is divided into two buildings: the historic warehouse, located at Largo da Rua Chile; and in a building that houses the passenger station, function rooms, kitchens, restrooms and elevators.
The Port of Natal supports the mooring of ships with a maximum length of 205 meters, due to the draft of the Potengi River and the height of the central span of the Newton Navarro Bridge, which is only 55 meters. The area is part of the Ribeira neighborhood revitalization project. The Terminal was a work of the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), which received investments in the order of R$ 74 million.
Return should inject BRL 2.5 billion into the country’s economy
The guarantee for the resumption of maritime cruise navigation will enable Brazilians to join the more than 2 million people who have already sailed around the world since this type of activity resumed operations in around 50 countries. According to the Ministry of Tourism (Mtur), the return should generate 35,000 jobs and inject R$ 2.5 billion into the national economy.
The amount is 11% higher than that recorded in the last season, held in 2019/2020. For the 2021/2022 season, seven vessels are planned, responsible for offering more than 566,000 beds, the highest offer in the last four years (the offer is equivalent to 35,000 more beds than registered in the last season).
In addition, according to information from the Mtur, around 130 itineraries and 570 stops are planned in national destinations much sought after by Brazilians, such as Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Salvador, Angra dos Reis, Balneário Camboriú, Búzios, Cabo Frio, Fortaleza, Ilha Grande , Ilhabela, Ilhéus, Itajaí, Maceió, Porto Belo, Recife and Ubatuba.
Ordinance 658/2021, which authorizes the return of maritime cruises in the country, establishes conditions for the resumption and brings rules on borders – activities must take place exclusively in Brazilian jurisdictional waters.
The document, edited by the ministers of the Civil House, Justice and Public Security, Health and Infrastructure, conditions the return to the previous edition of the Ministry of Health’s ordinance, which should provide for the epidemiological scenario and define the situations considered to be outbreaks of covid. -19 in vessels, as well as the conditions for the fulfillment of passenger and ship isolation.
States and Municipalities must implement an Operational Plan that establishes conditions to provide health care to passengers arriving in their territories, in addition to the local execution of active epidemiological surveillance.
The sanitary conditions for the embarkation and disembarkation of passengers and crew (including those from other countries) will be defined by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) in a specific act. Anvisa met last week with representatives of associations and companies operating cruise lines in the country to discuss the sanitary protocols to be adopted.
During the meeting, the Agency anticipated that the complete vaccination of passengers is one of the main points under discussion. The Agency also discusses the need for testing before boarding and on board (periodically), to monitor passengers during the trip.
The protocols under discussion also involve screening for boarding, onboard health rules, capacity, reduced number of cabins and permanent monitoring during activities.