Port Authority orders cruise ships to leave Gulfport by Friday

The state Port Authority has ordered all cruise ships docked at the Port of Gulfport to leave by close of business on Friday.

The move follows Gov Tate Reeves’ executive order to shelter in place that begins on Friday as well.

“In operating with the best interest of our community and customers, the Port Authority informed all cruise operators that vessels must depart the port due to the raising concern of coronavirus cases in Mississippi,” said Jonathan Daniels Port of Gulfport Executive Director and CEO.

“We have been honored to assist Carnival and Royal Caribbean during this time of uncertainty and we thank them for the opportunity to show our capabilities. We understand that this decision puts our cruise partners in a difficult position, but we fully support the governor and state health leaders in the decision to move the vessels from the port to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved, and to properly align with the stress on our healthcare resources and first responders.”

Four cruise ships — the Carnival Glory, Carnival Valor, Carnival Freedom and Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas — have been docked at the port since the cruise industry shut down in the wake of the coronavirus.

“I want to thank (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol), Port staff and the many partners at the Port of Gulfport for their patience, dedication and for working diligently to accommodate the needs of the cruise lines. It has been a joint effort to ensure all maritime activities were taking place in accordance with federal law while also showing the spirit of hospitality that makes Mississippi so unique,” said Daniels.

Until the threat of coronavirus is gone, the Port of Gulfport will continue to support the efforts in limiting the spread of the virus while also maintaining essential operations. At this time, the Port of Gulfport is open to commercial traffic and the port’s administrative offices have limited staff until further notice.

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