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Port of Tauranga not expecting any job losses due to cruise ship restrictions

On Saturday, March 14, the New Zealand Government announced a temporary ban on cruise ships arriving from overseas. This did not affect cruise ships already in New Zealand waters. Most cruise ships in New Zealand waters have abandoned their current itineraries and are making arrangements to repatriate their passengers.

On Sunday night, March 15, the Ruby Princess, due to arrive at Port of Tauranga early on the morning of March 16, was redirected to Australia, bypassing its scheduled visits to both Tauranga and Auckland.

The Bremen arrived from Napier on Sunday, March 15. The Bremen has been cruising in Antarctica and New Zealand since the beginning of February. Its current cruise began in Bluff nearly two weeks ago. Public health authorities are satisfied that there is no disease risk from the crew and passengers on board. The Bremen will leave Port of Tauranga at approximately 6pm on Monday, March 16, bound for Auckland.

All other cruise ship visits due at Port of Tauranga have been cancelled. The Noordam remains in port, with only crew on board, until arrangements can be made to relocate the vessel.

Port of Tauranga Limited's revenue will be impacted, but not materially, by the loss of the berthing and service fees expected from the 16 cancelled cruise ship bookings. Port of Tauranga does not expect any job losses from the cancellations, as its cruise ship-related seasonal staff will be redeployed to other duties.

The loss of cruise ship visits will allow the Port to more efficiently manage the kiwifruit bulk export season, which begins today, using the northernmost berths of the port's Mount Maunganui wharves.

Cargo ships and their crew members remain subject to the strict border controls already in place. The rules are administered by the public health unit of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board.

Within 24 hours of expected arrival in New Zealand, cargo ships must declare if there is any illness on board and are not allowed to berth unless public health staff are satisfied there is no risk. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, ship captains must also declare whether the ship, or anyone on board, has been in a COVID-19 hot spot within the previous 14 days.

In addition to the above measures, all crew shore leave is now prohibited. Crew members must remain on board and minimise contact with port staff and contractors. Crew required to interact with port staff must wear face masks and maintain a safe physical distance.

Port of Tauranga has multiple measures in place to protect the health of all staff, including the provision of protective equipment, the cancellation of international travel and ensuring that those staff able to work from home can do so if necessary.

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