Finnish authorities, shipbrokers and agents as well as the ports that welcome cruise ships have in collaboration drawn up an action model to enable cruise passengers to come ashore without compromising health security from 26 July onwards.
“International cruise companies comply with the EMSA and CLIA guidelines as well as the rules issued by the health authorities in each country of call”, says Sari Turkkila, General Manager at Shipbrokers Finland.
Before their arrival in Finland, the cruise ships shall submit their own health security plans to the health authorities of each port they visit. These plans describe the health security measures implemented by the cruise company on board and in relation to visits ashore. Visiting ports in Finland is only allowed for the ships and passengers of those cruise companies that have provided the authorities with an approved plan.
On 15 July, the Government decided to end internal border control. At the same time, clear rules for international cruise ships’ visits to ports in Finland were issued. The new rules will be effective as of 26 July.
“A passenger cruise ship may enter Finland only when arriving from another EU or Schengen state, not e.g. from St. Petersburg. In addition, the municipal health authority always has the right to deny entry ashore if there are any cases of infections diagnosed on the ship.”
Cruise passengers who wish to come ashore in Helsinki are required to present a certificate of a complete COVID-19 vaccination series received at least 14 days before arriving in Finland or a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test made at least 72 hours before arriving in Finland or a certificate stating that they have had COVID-19, affirmed by laboratory testing, less than six months prior to entry to Finland.
According to Turkkila, the cruise companies are actively taking measures to control COVID-19 and the ships have onboard doctors and facilities for testing passengers. It is crucial for the cruise business that ships are free of infections and no infections are carried on board from ashore.
“This is a good example of collaboration between the authorities and various actors in the field towards gradually opening up the country for tourism and travel. We are very pleased about the return of international cruise traffic to Finland”, says General Manager Sari Turkkila.
Sari Turkkila, General Manager