U.S. Evacuates Nationals from Israel on Chartered Royal Caribbean Ship

cruise ship in Haifa
1 of Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships arriving in Haifa (file impression from Port of Haifa)

Published
Oct 16, 2023 12:21 PM by

The Maritime Executive

The U.S. State Department and the Embassy in Israel announced that it chartered a cruise ship to speed up the departure of U.S. nationals and their fast households from Israel. The go comes as fears mount of escalation as Israel stands poised for what governing administration officers are stating will be the following section of the war versus Hamas with an all-out air, sea, and land invasion of Gaza.

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Royal Caribbean Team confirmed that it was doing the job with the U.S. Its cruise ship, the Rhapsody of the Seas (78,878 gross tons) which experienced been idled in Cyprus, was dispatched to Haifa right away. The cruise ship, which was developed in 1997, had been working cruises from Israel that were canceled previous week right after the war began.

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The embassy in Israel introduced that embarkation would commence at 8:00 a.m. this morning regional time advising American nationals who experienced the correct paperwork to get there at the terminal by 8:00 a.m. and that boarding would be on a initial-appear foundation.  The embassy was only expressing that room would be minimal, but media experiences stated they hoped to load as several as 2,500 individuals aboard. The cruise ship, which is registered in the Bahamas, has close to 1,000 passenger cabins and a normal most passenger ability of just around 2,400 people alongside with 765 crew. It was unclear if all people was remaining assigned a cabin or if the ship would take deck travellers for the vacation, which was predicted to final 10 to 12 hours.

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Israeli media ended up reporting the scene at the dock was chaotic now. Embassy personnel had been trying to information the method, but at situations recommended men and women leave and return later on in smaller sized groups. Each and every passenger was permitted just 1 suitcase of up to 50 lbs. and a little have-on bag. No pets have been remaining embarked on the ship. They have been getting explained to that food items and Wi-Fi would be available onboard and the U.S. consular staff would be touring to assist the individuals evacuating from Israel.

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The cruise ship departed Haifa soon right after 4:00 p.m. nearby time soon after about seven hours in Haifa and is returning to Cyprus. In accordance to its AIS signal, it is sailing at about 10 knots and is thanks to get to Limassol at 8:00 a.m. area time tomorrow, Oct 17. The U.S. Embassy in Cyprus will supply buses from the ship to the two airports on Cyprus, but onward journey and accommodations is the individual’s duty. The embassy in Israel was reporting that constitution flights would be done out of Cyprus because of to the constrained availability of business provider.

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On Sunday, the U.S. Embassy wrote in an advisory, “We urge these wishing to depart to just take benefit,” of its vacation arrangements which also involved prepared constitution flights from Israel to “nearby harmless areas.” With commercial flights remaining incredibly limited out of Israel, the U.S. mentioned it would be giving seats on a place-offered basis on an unspecified selection of charters. They encouraged the household users of U.S. federal government workforce and some non-unexpected emergency staff would also be licensed to depart.

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It is unclear if the U.S. has strategies for any even further emergency evacuations from Israel. All the big cruise strains past 7 days suspended their port calls, as did most professional airlines. It was described that MSC Cruises chartered an Israeli-owned cruise ship, Crown Iris (40,000 gross tons), and on Sunday the cruise ship used about 10 several hours in Haifa disembarking Israelis that had been on an MSC cruise when the war broke out. 

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