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Halifax Port Authority making adjustments as cruise ships carrying over 500 banned until July (update)

'The health and well-being of our cruise guests and seafarers, our vendors, our staff and the greater public is our priority,' said spokesperson Lane Farguson
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A cruise ship along Halifax's waterfront (Meghan Groff/

The start of the cruise ship season has been delayed.

Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau says cruise ships capable of carrying more than 500 passengers and crew members will not be allowed to dock at Canadian ports until at least July 1.

The Port of Halifax had been expecting a record-breaking season for 2020.

However, Halifax Port Authority spokesperson Lane Farguson said the health and safety of passengers, seafarers, cruise vendors and the general public had to be prioritzed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said this will result in about 40 lost vessel calls over April, May and June, and around 75,000 fewer cruise guests strolling along the waterfront this year.

Halifax is scheduled to receive some smaller vessels with a passenger capacity of fewer than 500 people before July.

The first, Victory Cruise Lines' Victory II, has a passenger capacity of 200 and is scheduled to arrive on April 27, but Farguson said a lot can happen between now and then.

"As we've all seen over the last few days, things are evolving, not just daily or even hourly anymore, it seems like every 15 minutes there's a new development," he said.

Last year Halifax saw 324,828 cruise ship passengers and crew arrive on 179 ships.

COVID-19 has also impacted containerized cargo moving through Halifax's port.

"That dates back to the original outbreak in China where the manufacturing centres in and around Wuhan, as well as related ports, there were closures," he explained. "As a result of that, fewer goods were being manufactured, which meant fewer goods were being shipped and that meant for us, a reduction in the number of containers moving through Halifax."

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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