Outbreak shuts cruise terminal
Tourist chiefs in the Turks & Caicos Islands have shut down the cruise terminal on Grand Turk, following a stomach bug outbreak.
Cruise lines starting cancelling port calls to Grand Turk on March 11 after passengers suffered from symptoms of gastroenteritis after visiting the Grand Turk Cruise Centre in the British Caribbean territory.
The tourist board did not say why or when the nearly 18-acre cruise centre closed, but board director Ralph Higgs said local authorities were addressing the problem and hoped to reopen the terminal soon.
In Turks & Caicos, the general manager of the Grand Turk cruise centre would not comment and referred queries to Carnival, which opened the terminal in 2006.
Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said the Miami, Florida-based company was "investigating whether there may be a link with consumption of food and beverages while guests were ashore in Grand Turk".
He said Carnival and other cruise lines cancelled port calls to Grand Turk to be cautious and were monitoring the situation while authorities try to determine the cause of the illness.
Cruise lines rerouted their ships or extended their stays in ports in Puerto Rico, Bahamas and other locales.
A Florida-based spokesman for the cruise centre said experts, working with local health officials, had been examining and testing food and water at the cruise terminal over the last two weeks.
"Multiple measures are currently being taken to ensure the quality of all food, water and sanitation systems going forward," said Buck Banks, who said he works for a public relations company hired by the cruise terminal.
The Grand Turk Cruise Centre would not provide information about when the terminal closed to ships, but its port schedule listed no arrivals after March 13. The port includes a 45,000 sq-ft shopping centre, a swimming pool and food and drink outlets.