The Port Authority of Jamaica says it has heightened its health and saftey protocols in light if the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, threat.

In a statement over the weekend the PAJ says in relation to the current threat from the new strain of the coronavirus, all responses are being led by the Ministry of Health which also manages the Quarantine Department.

Under the monitoring procedure, the members of the Quarantine Department are the first to board a vessel to ensure that all health and safety protocols are observed.

Shipping agents are also required to supply the PAJ’s Marine Pilot’s Office and the Quarantine Department with the vessel’s last five ports of call as well as the health conditions prevailing onboard in order to assess the threat posed to Jamaica’s ports.

According to Port Authority, the ships are not allowed to proceed to port unless the Quarantine Department has satisfied itself regarding the health conditions onboard.

The PAJ says if the Quarantine Department is satisfied that health conditions are safe, a pilot is then dispatched to the vessel. 

It says with regards to cruise shipping operations, almost all of the cruise ships that call at Jamaica’s ports originate from the United States which is doing intensive screening at their ports.

The Port Authority says Jamaica’s homeport, the Port of Montego Bay, accommodates ships that are primarily German and British which have been screened before arriving in Jamaica and again at the Port of Montego Bay upon arrival.

Since the threat of the novel coronavirus, the cruise industry has seen the implementation of strict screening policies at the various homeports around the world before allowing passengers to embark.