March 18 ------ As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread in Europe, ferry companies have suspended their services on a number of sea routes. On March 14, Swedish company Stena Line decided to halt all passenger traffic to and from Denmark and Poland after these countries announced a temporary closure of their borders due to COVID-19. “The company will continue to operate the following routes with the existing timetables and vessels but only carrying freight onboard until further notice,” Stena Line said. The routes in question are Gothenburg-Frederikshavn, Halmstad- Grenaa and Karlskrona-Gdynia. In addition, Stena Line, which has a fleet of 37 vessels, also suspended all operations on the route Oslo – Frederikshavn.
What is more, Danish ferry and logistics company DFDS informed that its Copenhagen-Oslo route will suspend sailings from March 16, 2020, until April 1, 2020, as a minimum. The suspension of the route follows the introduction of new national measures to stop the spreading of the COVID-19 virus in both Denmark and Norway. “We had hoped to be able to continue with the changes we had introduced to meet the Danish government’s measures, but now the Norwegian government has introduced new measures. This means that passengers will have to quarantine for 14 days upon entry into Norway if they have been outside the Nordic countries in the period after February 27,” Kasper Moos, VP and Head of DFDS’ passenger business, explained.
Furthermore, Estonian Tallink Grupp said it would stop operating the Riga-Stockholm route passenger vessels Romantika and Isabelle from March 16 until further notice. The two ships will remain in the port of Riga until the operations are restored. “Cargo transport will be available on the company’s Paldiski-Kappelskär route vessel Regal Star, providing the land border between Estonia and Latvia enables border crossing,” Tallink Grupp added. On March 15, Tallink said it continues to operate its Tallinn-Helsinki route vessels Megastar, Star and Silja Europa and its Muuga-Vuosaari route ship Seawind according to normal schedule. The company’s Helsinki-Stockholm and Turku-Stockholm vessels currently operate according to normal schedule until further notice, Tallink further said.
On March 13, the Estonian company also announced it would stop selling return tickets on the Tallinn-Stockholm route. Another ferry company, Spanish Baleària, said it is cooperating with relevant authorities and follows their instructions regarding the company’s ferry services.
Baleària has so far modified its services on Ibiza-Formentera, Ceut-Algeciras and Valencia-Mostaganem routes. In accordance with the Moroccan government’s decision to halt traffic with Spain, Baleària suspended passenger departures for the Algeciras-Tangier Med and Almeria-Nador routes.