18 Feb 2020

Fourth cruise ship visit to Samoa cancelled

3:17 pm on 18 February 2020

A fourth cruise ship's visit to Samoa has been cancelled amid the global coronavirus outbreak.

Apia's town clock.

Apia's town clock. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Jenny Meyer

Samoa Ports Authority chief executive So'oalo Kuresa So'oalo said the Sevens Seas Mariner, which was scheduled to arrive next Monday, has been cancelled.

The Samoa Observer reports it's the fourth cruise ship to do so in the past two months, and the cancellations are due to travel orders implemented by the government following the country's deadly measles epidemic last year and the recent global coronavirus outbreak.

However, government spokesman Nanai Laveitiga Tuiletufuga said that contrary to recent reports, the ports of Apia remained open to cruise ships.

Nanai said some ships' visits were being cancelled because they did not fulfil quarantine requirements from the Ministry of Health.

The current requirement for cruise ships is for their local agent to pay for a local health inspector to travel to the last port of call to conduct a screening before the vessel arrives in Samoa.

Meanwhile, So'oalo estimates the ports authority has lost more than $US74,000 through cruise ships cancelling visits to the country in recent months amid the measles epidemic and global coronavirus outbreak.

He said the cancellations had affected the collection of port charges but he remained optimistic and hoped other services would help absorb the revenue loss.

"We will just have to move on with business and providing port services, hoping the global business shocks like the coronavirus will die out," he said.

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