Under public pressure and criticism about Saturday’s ferry terminal fiasco, the BVI Port Authority (BVIPA) has issued a statement blaming the ferry service that operated on the day.
The Ports gave indications that it did not give authorisation for the ferry operator in question to exceed the 50-person passenger limit that has been in place.
“The BVIPA wishes to, therefore, clarify that the situation which arose Saturday [May] 15th was a breach of the BVIPA’s transportation and travel protocol on the part of the ferry operator. One of the incoming ferries failed to cap its passengers at the required limit of 50,” the BVIPA said in a release this morning.
“In fact, that ferry transported in excess of 100 passengers into the territory, which breached the COVID-19 protection protocols, and caused a backlog in the Immigration and Customs processing of those passengers. This resulted in overcrowding at the terminal, discomfort and inconvenience of the passengers and staff, thus negatively impacting the service and image of the Ports,” it added.
Investigation underway, appropriate action to be taken
And while advising all ferry operators they must abide by the Port’s COVID-19 mandates, the BVIPA said a full investigation is underway into Saturday’s incident.
It further said “appropriate action will be taken with that ferry operator”.
“The Ports cannot afford possible repeat of such an occurrence,” the BVIPA stated. “In this time of heightened security, the Ports Authority takes seriously and prioritises the safety of all passengers, staff, and by extension, the people of the British Virgin Islands.”
In the meantime, the Ports also issued an apology for the inconvenience caused to passengers because of the breach.
It further assured that the system is designed to provide for a smooth experience while ensuring the safety and security of all passengers, as well as the staff of the Ports.
“While the BVIPA continues to scale its operations, the current restriction of 50 passengers per ferry remains firmly in place, to ensure continued efficiency in processing travellers. Adjustments to this limitation will be announced in coming days,” it further said.
Saturday the 15th marked the roll-out of the new protocols for vaccinated travellers. These protocols allow for fully vaccinated travellers to undergo a “limited quarantine period”. They can now enter the BVI, get tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, after which they proceed to quarantine for up to two days pending the result of the test.
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