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Companies Explore Weeklong Jamaica only Cruises

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#MontegoBay, April 15, 2022 – Weeklong Jamaica-only cruises could soon be a reality as cruise lines seek to explore more cost-effective ways to stay afloat during a still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The move, which Ministry of Tourism officials have been championing for some time, would see a cruise line creating an itinerary where it would take them to all the Jamaican ports of call over a five-to-seven-day period.

Leading the charge is Marella Cruises, whose newest flagship fleet, Marella Explorer 2, is currently homeporting in Jamaica’s tourism capital, Montego Bay.

“It makes a lot of sense where we could do a Jamaica-only itinerary, where we could come into Montego Bay then move on to Falmouth, Ocho Rios, Port Royal and Port Antonio [not necessarily in that order],” said Marella Explorer 2’s Captain, Kostas Lampropoulous, during a tour of his mega liner by local tourism officials on April 12.

“When we are talking about fuel, water… it’s a lot more [cost effective] to do so and is something that we are looking at. We have a great relationship with Jamaica… .  We enjoy coming to Jamaica, and we see Jamaica as an important partner,” he added.

Captain Lampropoulous noted that the Marella Explorer 2, which leaves the island today (April 13), will be back on April 19 before taking a hiatus until November.

He said that the plan is to also increase homeporting activities on the island, making Jamaica a first-call and first-choice destination for Marella Cruises.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC), Joy Roberts, told JIS News that the Tourism Ministry has been lobbying all the major cruise lines regarding the possibility of creating Jamaica-only itineraries, considering that the island is the only Caribbean destination with so many ports of call.

She said the revelation by Marella Cruises that it was exploring such a possibility was proof that “we have been doing something right” and is great news for the future of the cruise sector.

“There is also the value-added advantage of homeporting which is what Marella Cruises have been doing here in Montego Bay,” she noted.

“Montego Bay, with the Sangster International Airport a main and convenient draw, is ideal to have ships for overnight stay and where they could move on to other Jamaican ports. This has been a dream of ours and our Hon. Minister, Edmund Bartlett,” Ms. Roberts said.

Homeporting is when a ship uses a port/marine terminal as its home, regardless of its port of registry. This allows passengers to begin/terminate a cruise in the home port and positively impacts ground transportation and tours. Passengers may also fly into the island to board vessels.

Among the benefits of home-porting is the creation of jobs for locals, as support services are provided for the vessels such as fuel, water, food and merchandise. Ground transport and small business operators will also profit as passengers disembark and go on tours and shop.

On March 14, the Marella Explorer 2 resumed home-porting in Montego Bay. It visited Port Royal and will be back on a weekly cycle until April 19.

Between August 2021 and March 16, 2022, Jamaica’s ports received 104 calls comprising 141,265 passengers and 108,057 crew.

“Our goal is to bring three million cruise visitors to Jamaica by 2025. We have established the infrastructure, and we will continue to engage the marketplace to accomplish this critical objective. To do this, the Jamaica Tourist Board and Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC) will intensify marketing efforts to position Jamaica as the destination of choice for cruise travellers from markets such as the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East,” Mr. Bartlett told JIS News on April 12.

“The cruise industry is critical because it provides employment for a significant number of our small and medium-sized tourism enterprises. Once the ship docks, the dollars begin to flow into the hands of the average citizen, and that, in my opinion, is the strength of cruise tourism. It does, I feel, provide the quickest means of wealth transfer due to the very straightforward jobs required.  It has an immediate economic impact on ordinary people’s lives, which is critical to the survival of small towns,” he said.

 

CONTACT: Garwin Davis

Release: JIS

Caribbean News

Vessels sink with 900 barrels of fuel in Trinidad

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Trinidad, December 2, 2022 – The Ministry of Energy and Energy Resources in Trinidad reported on Wednesday that a ship carrying 900 barrels of diesel fuel had sunk in the Gulf of Paria. The six crew members on board were rescued and received medical assessment.

The statement revealed that the barge owned by Trinity Liftboat Services Limited was trying to demobilise Trinity Heritage Petroleum Company’s North Field when it capsized.

After receiving an SOS from a vessel in their North Field, Heritage sent out a response team. An investigation into the incident has started, however, the main focus is to redeem the barge without making any oil spills.

The owners of the sunken vessel said “there are no injuries recorded. (The vessel) now sits on the seafloor no longer posing a risk to any of Heritage Petroleum’s platforms or installations.” They said the captain made a good decision to abandon the ship so that the crew members could be rescued and transported back to base.

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Bahamas News

Digital coin created for Caribbean’s Dominica as island partners with Huobi

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

December 2, 2022 – The Commonwealth of Dominica has partnered with cryptocurrency exchange Huobi, to issue its own national cryptocurrencies, Dominica Coin (DMC), and Digital Identity Documents (DID), already reports indicate a surge for the Huobi token.

This new collaboration with Dominica will bring the Caribbean one step closer to being a global cryptocurrency exchange centre.  Huobi also announced its intention to move headquarters from Seychelles to the Caribbean.

It was explained, “The deal is noteworthy partly because of its connections to crypto billionaire Justin Sun, founder of the Tron blockchain where the Caribbean island’s new token will initially reside.”

Dominica Coin (DMC) and digital identity documents (DID) will be issued by Huobi Prime via the TRON network (a project dedicated to building the infrastructure for a truly decentralized Internet); both will serve as credentials for the future metaverse platform based in Dominica. DIDs can be used for cryptocurrency Know Your Customer verification, applying for loans, and opening bank accounts on the island.

The DMC is not yet ready for launch, but The HT token is up 15% over the last 24 hours to $7.12. It’s up 40% over the past seven days.

As one of the first Caribbean islands to adopt the citizenship-by-investment policy, the Dominican government is seeking to delve into the metaverse and Web3 technology as a means to boost the country’s development.

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Bahamas News

Imminent Worldwide Measles Threat; 25 Million CHILDREN miss First Dose

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

December 2, 2022 – Forty million children are at risk of Measles as what the World Health Organization is describing as an “imminent threat” takes shape. A joint report between the WHO and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control revealed that a record number of children missed their measles dose with 25 million children missing their first dose and 14.7 million children missing their second dose in 2021 alone.

Nine million cases of measles were recorded last year, twenty-two countries experienced large and disruptive outbreaks and 128,000 deaths occurred, the report says.

“The paradox of the pandemic is that while vaccines against COVID-19 were developed in record time and deployed in the largest vaccination campaign in history, routine immunization programmes were badly disrupted, and millions of kids missed out on life-saving vaccinations against deadly diseases like measles,” said Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Measles is easily one of the most contagious viruses in the world and while many people think itchy spots when they think of the disease it can cause pneumonia, seizures and brain damage in about 30 percent of infected individuals.

Herd immunity will not work with this disease, say experts, unless 95 per cent of people or more are vaccinated; only 71 per cent of children in 2022 are fully vaccinated.

“Measles anywhere is a threat everywhere” the report said, emphasizing that no WHO region has achieved and sustained measles elimination.

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