Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas is in port today, July 15, to repatriate her crew members.
Independence of the Seas is the 2nd cruise ship in the past week to utilize Port St Maarten (Philipsburg) to facilitate repatriating her crew members back to their home countries.
The repatriation process is carried out according to the “Sterile Port Protocol” of Port St. Maarten, which complies with national public health laws and international health regulations issued by the WHO (World Health Organization).
RCI-Royal Caribbean International suspended operations in March. The cruise company has since said its priority was to repatriate its crew back to their home countries.
Royal Caribbean recently said it had repatriated 95% of its 40,000 crew members as of the end of June, and this number would increase to 97% by July 15.
“The repatriation of crew from ships has been a challenging task due to new public health and travel regulations and restrictions that were imposed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the world.
“As restrictions are slowly lifted, repatriation of crew is taking place at various ports that can handle such procedures. Port St. Maarten was chosen due to its strategic location in the North-eastern Caribbean as well as its international connections with airports around the world."