To provide the public with diverse and safe domestic travel, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) implemented early cruise deployment. Today (6/30), MOTC allowed the Explorer Dream to enter the Port of Keelung for quarantine. If everything goes smoothly, the cruise is expected to set sail at the end of July and will use Keelung as its home port. The cruise will connect Kinmen, Matsu, Penghu, and other offshore islands and officially write the new chapter in safe island-hopping cruises around Taiwan.
The world has been severely affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic this year, devastating the international cruise market. As the epidemic stabilizes in Taiwan, the Minister of the MOTC, Lin Chia-Lung, proposed the safe travel plan and island-hopping cruises. Besides alleviating the strain on air travel and the offshore island hospitality industry, the plan will further drive the growth of the travel industry and offshore island tourism industry.
The Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) was named for early deployment and successfully recruited international cruise operators to use Taiwan as their home ports. After discussing cruise epidemic prevention measures with the Central Epidemic Command Center and receiving the approval of Minister Chen Shih-Chung for the Explorer Dream resuming proposal, the ship berthed at West pier 4 in the Port of Keelung this morning. The various quarantine and epidemic prevention measures were implemented by the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, Keelung Harbor Police Department, CIQS, Taiwan International Ports Corporation, and other related organizations. This is the beginning of safe island-hopping cruises.
The Explorer Dream has a displacement of 75,338 tons and a passenger capacity of 3,630 people. Initially, the cruise will carry 1,200 to 1,800 passengers and 588 crew members. Of the 588 crew members, 538 people entered Taiwan and have been placed in 9 separate quarantine hotels for 14-day quarantine. The remaining 50 crew members have undergone polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and have all tested negative. They returned to the cruise ship for 14-day home quarantine. After all crew members have completed their quarantine and have tested negative with out-of-pocket PCR testing, they will return to the cruise ship for 7-day self health management. The entire ship will be disinfected by a professional company in accordance with European Union regulations and inspected by public health experts following the completion of quarantine procedures.
Lin Chia-Lung, the Minister of the MOTC, stated that Taiwan’s epidemic prevention measures were deployed early before the rest of the world. Taiwan could be the first country to restore cruise operations in the world. Currently, the “Incentive Guidelines for Cruises Docking in Offshore Islands in Taiwan and Marketing Promotion” is planned to subsidies the travel industry and incentivize cruise operators to plan offshore island stops and marketing to encourage more operators to have their ships stop in offshore island ports. The plan is to revitalize cruise related industries in Taiwan and increase the number of visitors from cruises in offshore islands. The MOTC expects the plan to bring more business opportunities in the travel market these tough times.
Contact person: Maritime Affairs Division Section Chief Tu Wen-Yun
Contact number: 02-89788020, 0921-201-985