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Canada announces new measures for ferries and commercial passenger vessels

Christian Fernsby |
Transport Canada is working with the Public Health Agency of Canada, other levels of government, transportation industry stakeholders, and Indigenous peoples to help limit the spread of coronavirus.

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Topics: CANADA    VESSEL   

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau announced new measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on commercial passenger vessels and ferries.

As of April 6, the new measures with mandatory requirements:

Prohibit all commercial marine vessels with a capacity of more than 12 passengers from engaging in non-essential activities, such as tourism or recreation.

These measures will remain in place until at least June 30.

Prevent any Canadian cruise ship from mooring, navigating, or transiting in Canadian Arctic waters (including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and the Labrador Coast).

Should any foreign passenger vessel seek to enter Arctic waters, they would need to give the Minister of Transport 60 days' notice and be subject to any conditions the Minister determines necessary to ensure the protection of marine personnel and local communities.

These measures will remain in place until October 31, 2020.

Require ferries and essential passenger vessel operators to:

Immediately reduce by 50% the maximum number of passengers that may be carried on board (conduct half-load voyages) to support the two-metre physical distancing rule; or

Implement alternative practices to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 (consistent with Public Health Agency of Canada guidelines) among passengers on board their vessels, such as keeping people in their vehicles, when feasible or enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures.

In addition to these measures, Transport Canada is issuing guidelines to ferry operators respecting health screening for all passengers before boarding to better protect their employees and passengers. These guidelines are based on advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The new measures preventing vessel activity do not apply to:

essential passenger vessels such as ferries, water taxis, and medical-use vessels;

cargo vessels, barges, work boats, fishing vessels and other commercial vessels who operate to support resupply operations and the movement of goods through Canada's supply chain;

Canadian commercial passenger vessels, without passengers, moving for repairs or repositioning;

Canadian commercial passenger vessels that are not in service; and

pleasure craft (e.g. non-commercial vessels).

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