PORT ANTONIO, Portland — The West Harbour in this town is now home to 10 vessels with a combined 28 passengers whom the local authorities have refused landing in keeping with the Government’s travel restrictions in the wake of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak here.
The vessels came into the harbour after Prime Minister Andrew Holness, on March 20, announced the closure of the island’s air and sea ports to incoming passenger traffic effective midnight March 21.
Last Tuesday three yachts — May Flower, Risky Business and Ismini — came into the harbour, but through coordinated efforts by the marine police and the coast guard they were escorted out of the harbour before midday that same day.
Their departure left three vessels in the harbour — Freedom, Amante and Mushu.
Freedom, which has an Italian man on-board, was reportedly denied landing at Santiago de Cuba; Amante, which has three Dutch nationals aboard, came in from Cuba; while Mushu, which has six people on-board — three Russians, two Ukrainians and an American — had arrived from Dominica.
The operators of the vessels all reportedly said they came to Jamaica because they were having problems landing elsewhere and were experiencing difficulties with their vessels.
Last Thursday, a grey and white sailboat named Ashaka, with an Australian-registered flag, arrived at Ken Wright Cruise Ship Pier, in close proximity to the Errol Flynn Marina. A local official told the Jamaica Observer that the vessel had “a sick German national” and a Japanese woman on-board.
According to the official, the woman had boarded the vessel on March 12, 2020 and was supposed to join a Japanese ship in Puerto Rico but was refused permission to board.
The German man reported that he is suffering from a left inguinal hernia and needed urgent surgery. However, a doctor from the Portland Health Centre who examined the man said he doesn’t need emergency surgery as his hernia is none-reactive.
On Thursday as well, another yacht, named Carry-On, arrived with a man, a woman and a dog aboard. They were reportedly refused landing in Cuba before coming to Jamaica, where they were also denied landing.
On Saturday three vessels arrived in the East Harbour — a white catamaran named Condor40 with a USA-registered flag; a blue and white mega yacht named Sunshine, flying the Jamaican flag and registered in Montego Bay; and a blue and white sailboat name Antidote with a Canadian-registered flag.
The Condor40 had one male American on-board. His last port of call was The Bahamas where he was denied entry and landing. He had reported that the mast on his sail was broken and he needed to repair it in order to leave for Panama.
The marine police and the coast guard instructed him to leave the East Harbour and go to the West Harbour, near Folly Oval, which he did.
A similar directive was given to the Aintidote, which had two male Canadians aboard who said their last port of call was The Bahamas where they were denied entry and landing. Before that they had sailed to Costa Rica, Dominica, and Panama.
They requested food, water, and diesel fuel from the Jamaican authorities in order to leave for the Panama Canal.
The Sunshine arrived with six crew members — the captain, a British man; two Australians, two South Africans; and one Canadian. Their last port of call was Panama where they were refused landing and entry. The local official reported that the captain said he had sailed to Jamaica because he was told that the island was accepting boats.
The Observer was told that the vessels can remain in the harbour as a humanitarian gesture. However, they must remain moored at sea until further orders and the people on-board cannot disembark.
The other two vessels in the harbour are named Samba and Oversea. The Observer, however, was unable to get any information on when they arrived.
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