The Ministry of Equipment is working to equip a fleet of ferries with COVID-19 analysis laboratories.
Rabat – For the first time in four months, ferries are mobilizing to transport passengers from Europe to northern Morocco as part of the Moroccan government’s “exceptional operation” to facilitate the return of the country’s citizens, residents, and their families starting Wednesday.
The first ship is set to depart Wednesday from the port of Sete, France to Nador, on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast. The second will leave the port of Genoa, Italy for the Tangier Med Port on Thursday.
As announced on July 8, Morocco is opening its borders on July 15 to ferries from Genoa and Sete, as well as Royal Air Maroc and Air Arabia flights from various international destinations. Only Moroccan citizens, legal residents, and the family members of both citizens and residents are permitted onboard.
Air and maritime travelers over the age of 11 must undergo PCR and serological tests within 48 hours of departing for Morocco. Ferry passengers who travel by car to the Genoa and Sete ports are to undergo additional screening onboard if their test results are more than two days old.
The Ministry of Equipment, Transport, and Logistics affirmed on July 14 that it has “established contacts with the port authorities of the liaison ports in France and Italy in order to coordinate all port and maritime operations.”
The ministry has mobilized national and foreign shipowners, as well as administrations and partner institutions, to set up a fleet plan that follows long-distance shipping lines from the two European ports, Morocco’s state media Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported.
“Provisional authorizations will be granted to selected shipowners who undertake to give full effect to the provisions of the specifications put in place by the ministry to ensure safe and secure transport and protect the health of passengers and crews,” said the ministry’s statement ahead of the ferries’ launch.
The ministry’s specifications outline the operating conditions for the ferry routes and the health provisions on board. The statement said the competent authorities visited the ships set for mobilization to ensure the implementation of the health protocols before the ferry operations commence.
The ministry has equipped the two ships set to bring passengers to Nador and Tangier with COVID-19 analysis laboratories, in line with the protocol of Moroccan health authorities. In the coming days, the ministry will fit the other ships in the fleet with analysis laboratories so they can safely set sail for Moroccan ports.