PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten has enhanced its sanitization measures throughout the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facilities via its “Sterile Port Protocol” and is in the process of setting up a Mini-Medical Unit (MMU). The MMU will serve for quarantine and/or medical examinations if the need arises. Hygienic and security protocols are in place in connection with vessels that have permission to call at the port.
Cruise ships are only able to re-fuel and food provisioning. Cargo vessels are allowed to come in and deliver consumer-packaged-food-goods and household products out of Europe and the United States. These calls continue on a weekly basis as normal.
Cargo operations continue on a 24/7 basis. Unhindered. Part of the ports staff have been given the option to work remotely from home in order to comply with the social distancing recommendation by public health officials. Social distancing entails being at least one-meter (3-feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
The “Sterile Port Protocol” falls under the scope of the Ordinance Public Health which is part of the International Health Regulations as issued by the World Health Organization (WHO). The aforementioned is part of the ports procedures for responding to infectious disease situations and pandemic plan. The port has also established a “Crisis Emergency Service Department” to deal with in the initial phase of any infectious disease until medical and public health officials arrive.
The port has further strengthened its protocols with stakeholders such as Port Agents/Handlers with respect to procedural details that are in established protocols related to maritime health declarations. Vessel agents have been advised of their role and the ship’s responsibility with the provision of the necessary documents required for entering the country.
The Port Community System (PCS) is the tool being used to centralize all communications with port stakeholders. The PCS involves data-sharing among stakeholders and third parties covering cargo and cruise operations at the country’s seaport of entry. The Ambulance Department has been added to the PCS system.
The PCS software has been adapted which will allow key port operational staff to review the status of the maritime health declaration which would indicate the approval process from Ministry VSA CPS; immigration and border control will also have access to the system. This is part of the new and improved digital solution that the port has implemented.
According to Port St. Maarten Management, the PCS system is part of the port’s long-term strategic approach in digitization planning and building a more inclusive data center platform. The port’s PCS is also in line with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL) which allows the shipping process to move more quickly, easily and efficiently.
PCS is an extension of Port St. Maarten’s Terminal Operating System that would further enhance the port’s operational excellence platform linking for example cargo/container manifest to an incoming/outgoing vessel to warehouse/storage handling and receiver pick-up.