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UPDATE: Harmony Of The Seas arrives with more than 4 000 crew

GERCINE CARTER, gercinecarter@nationnews.com

Added 27 May 2020

harmony-of-the-seas-arrives-may-27-2020-shanice

Harmony Of The Seas arrived in Barbados, May 27, 2020, to facilitate the repatriation of crew members. (Picture by Shanice King.)

The 1 188-foot-long Harmony Of The Seas, the world’s longest cruise ship and the second largest, arrived in Barbados today on a humanitarian mission.

Harmony Of The Seas is carrying over 4 000 crew members and will be facilitating the repatriation of crew, who have been stranded at sea for weeks, to their homes in Indonesia, the Philippines, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Romania, on chartered aircraft over the next few days. The ship will be here until early June.

Harmony Of The Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, carries 5 400 passengers and 2 100 crew on its regular eastern and western Caribbean itineraries.

It will be one of the 31 cruise ships to lay over in Barbados with cruising being brought to a virtual halt internationally since March because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is one of several companies which accepted Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s offer for Barbados to be the gateway for repatriating crew, as several ships were turned away by ports around the world in an effort to protect their borders against the spread of (COVID-19).

Kevyn Yearwood, managing director of Platinum Port Agency Inc., which works with several cruise lines, said the company had been collaborating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Barbados Port Inc., Ministry of Health, Customs and Immigration, Grantley Adams International Airport, Caribbean Aircraft Handling and Goddards Catering Group in a complex operation for a seamless movement of crew from the ships to the chartered aircraft, and vice versa.

Platinum is a subsidiary of Foster & Ince Group of Companies.

Yearwood said that since the first charter flight went from Barbados on March 24, there had been another 27, taking in excess of 9 450 crew to many parts of the globe. (GC)

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