Frazzled public nerves about the coronavirus has prompted the Port of Tauranga to publicly advise that a cruise ship will be making an extended stay this week but there's no cause for alarm.
The regular visitor Noordam will spend five nights at the port following schedule changes and no passengers will be on board, the company said.
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The schedule changes are understood to be the result of shipping companies responding to the coronavirus outbreak by keeping cruise vessels away from overseas hot spots and cancellations and delays. The port has experienced other schedule changes but not for the length of time the Noordam will stay. The ship is owned by the Holland America line.
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Chief operating officer Leonard Sampson said it's extremely rare for a cruise ship to spend more than one night at the port and local businesses will benefit from having several hundred crew members staying in the Bay of Plenty.
"The vessel has been operating in the South Pacific for the whole summer and all crew on board meet health authority requirements," he said.
All ships - cruise and cargo - visiting the Port of Tauranga strictly follow Ministry of Health regulations regarding the health status of people on board, the company said.
The rules were administered by the public health unit of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board.
Within 24 hours of expected arrival in New Zealand, ships must declare if there is any illness on board and they are not allowed to berth unless public health officials are satisfied there is no risk, the company said.
Ship captains must also declare whether the ship or anyone on board has been in a Covid-19 hot spot within 14 days. If so, those people would be banned from coming ashore.