Grand Turk Cruise Centre to re-open April 8
Published on April 5, 2013
The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board has announced that cruise ship calls to the Grand Turk Cruise Centre will commence on April 8, 2013.
The Board, which has been working in close collaboration with all the relevant stakeholders as well as the local public health department, said it is confident that all measures have been taken to ensure the health and safety of visitors.
The cruise sector, which accounts for a majority of visitors to the Turks and Caicos Islands, is a vital cog in the tourism industry of Grand Turk and the Board said it is cognizant of the impact that the cancellation of cruise ship visits may have exerted on the businesses and residents of the Island.
Ralph Higgs, Director of the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board
Commenting, Ralph Higgs, director of the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board, said, “Throughout this situation, we continued an open dialogue with the most senior executives involved in the ports operation. We understand the severity of the impact of the cancellation of cruise ship visits not only to the local business community of Grand Turk but to those guests who have selected to visit our shores via cruise line. Moving forward, the government feels confident that all the appropriate measures are in place and that Grand Turk will continue to provide the vacation opportunity of a lifetime to our visiting guests.”
Grand Turk losing millions
Published on April 3, 2013,in TCI News Now
Grand Turk’s economy has lost millions of dollars in economic activity as a result of the recent outbreak of gastroenteritis at the cruise port, which is owned by the Carnival Corporation.
Almost three weeks have elapsed since cruise ships discontinued berthing at the facility for fear of passengers disembarking on the island contracting the virus. The outbreak also appears to be spreading to the rest of the island, as more residents are reportedly coming down with the sickness.
The health department and tourist board have issued press releases describing their efforts in attempting to isolate and contain the outbreak. One possible source of the outbreak is thought to be in the water supply; however, this theory has not been proven as public health authorities wait on test results.
Problems with the sewage system at the cruise port are another possible cause and sources on Grand Turk report that a recently commenced excavation of the sewage system has been covered by temporary posts and plastic cloth. Security guards are posted, keeping locals from coming close to the site.
What appears to have happened is that gray water effluent is being contaminated by the sewage system.
The latest estimate for completion of the repairs and sanitization is another seven to ten days. It is understood that Carnival executives will be arriving on Wednesday or Thursday to meet with Premier Rufus Ewing and be interviewed on a Radio Turks and Caicos broadcast.
One concerned resident of Grand Turk said that the situation on that island is worsening as cruise ships were the only thing that kept the island advancing, noting that it would be a big setback for Grand Turk if the situation persists.
Carnival Corporation has been plagued with a number of unfortunate incidents over the past two years. In December 2011, the Costa Concordia capsized in the Mediterranean, while just a few months ago an engine failure resulted in one its cruise ships losing all power in the Gulf of Mexico.
Carnival has a number of ports of call throughout the Caribbean and is developing attractions in neighbouring Dominican Republic; however, the Grand Turk cruise centre has enjoyed a steady increase over the years since its opening in 2004.
The TCI government relies on Carnival’s head tax to help meet its budgetary obligations with over $3 million in annual receipts coming from arriving passengers. It is estimated that the economic impact for Grand Turk is some $250,000 per day in activity.
The cruise port has been hosting six to eight ship arrivals per week. The ships each carry between 2,500 and 3,500 passengers and it is believed that 90 percent of the passengers disembark the ship and visit the welcome centre. Approximately 20 percent of the passengers take taxis to visit other sites on the capital island.
Since the closure of the Carnival Cruise Port in Grand Turk, many persons far and near have asked me if I have any idea when the Cruise Port is likely to reopen.
Well folks, I have made inquires into the matter and I have been reliably informed that the Cruise Port will reopen on or about the 1st of April 2013.
I hope this information is able to take care of the concerns of those who inquired.
By way of background, the Cruise port was close after it was revealed that symptoms of a virus suffered Grand Turk residents was linked to the Cruise Port. There were various speculations as to the cause of the virus but in the absence of credible information , we are not going to speculate.
However the Ministry of Health, along with the Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing and officials of Carnival apparently worked together to deal with the situation. Carnival apparently made the decision to close the port pending investigations into the matter by Health Officials.
The Ministry of Health recently put out a press release stating that reports of the virus are on the decrease.
It appears that the situation has improved rapidly and Carnival is now confident that the Cruise Port will reopen by April 1 2013. JG
Turks and Caicos cruise port closed due to virus outbreak
Published on March 18, 2013,Caribbean News Now
GRAND TURK, Turks and Caicos Islands — Following an outbreak in the Turks and Caicos Islands of 25 cases of a sickness that causes vomiting and diarrhea, the Carnival Cruise Port on the capital island of Grand Turk has been closed until sanitation measures have been completed.
Health officials under health minister and premier, Dr Rufus Ewing, have been trying in vain to locate the source of the virus causing the outbreak. There are no inter-island travel restrictions and a few cases have now cropped up in Providenciales, the most populated island.
There has been a continuing problem with the public water supply in Grand Turk, which has been in disrepair for approximately seven years. The reverse osmosis plant was replaced by the interim government but it remains for the elected government to provide the enclosure building and complete the installation. It is thought that the system may be contaminated.
Each cruise ship passenger pays a $3.50 arrival fee and the closure has resulted in economic setbacks to the government and local vendors.