Three cruise ships to be laid up at the Port of Oakland

Two Norwegian Cruise Line vessels will lay up at Oakland’s Outer Harbour Terminal, which is currently not in use for the Port’s container shipping business, the port has said. Another vessel will dock at Howard Terminal on the Oakland Estuary, which is no longer considered large enough for container operations. The ships could remain berthed for two to three months, said Norwegian Cruise Line.

The first two vessels arrived May 9 and the third was scheduled to arrive on May 10th.

The port said that it had not received any report of any cases of Covid-19 on board.

There remain some 80,000 crew members on board cruise ships at sea that are looking to berth somewhere until the effective total pause in international cruise journeys is ended. There have been concerns expressed by hull insurers that the concentration of large cruise vessels in relatively few places – Manila, Florida and the Bahamas are three notable examples – could lead to an accumulation of risk.

Norwegian Cruise Line said that the ships would be managed by small crews, and that there were no plans for crew members to disembark in Oakland.

If crew members do disembark, the cruise line would have to follow guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control. This requires the submission of a disembarkation plan to state, federal and port authorities.

Oakland normally does not serve passenger liners, with San Francisco on the other side of the bay being a significant hub for US passengers embarking and disembarking, However in March it provided an emergency berth for the cruise ship Grand Princess, which had previously been stranded offshore after several cases of Covid-19 on board.