A ship from anywhere in the world is prohibited from docking at U.S. ports if it carries a Cuban sailor onboard. In truth it can, but only if it is willing to pay a penalty of $1,500 dollars a day per crew member, who are also prohibited from coming ashore.
This is one of the most absurd laws of the blockade. A regulation which today prevents Cuba from enlisting 500 sailors a year on commercial ships. This in addition to the fact that any vessel that docks at a Cuban port must wait a minimum of 180 days before it can arrive in the U.S., which logically means that not all foreign ships are willing to travel to Cuba.
So, of the island’s 1,100 port facilities currently able to receive cruise ships, today barely 11% are in use due to the effects of the blockade. This figure represents an annual loss of $149.5 million dollars for the country, according to data provided by Juan Carlos González Zamora, director general of the Port Maritime Transport Business Group.
The work of several affiliated entities is also negatively impacted by the blockade, explained the director. For example, that of agents who manage ship services at the port and respond to Cuban authorities. Its logical, the fewer boats that dock the less need for these services, resulting in an approximate annual loss of $2.2 million dollars in revenue for the country.
Likewise, the blockade also greatly affects the port sector in regards to repairs and maintenance of equipment.
Concerning this issue González Zamora explained that said policy limits, for example, access to Internet sites which offer up-to-date technical information. This information would facilitate the repair processes; however we are forced to obtain it from third countries, which means a longer and more expensive procedure.
Despite this, we port sector workers are willing to resist another 50 years of the blockade if necessary; without ceding a single ounce of our dignity; without ever surrendering, stated González Zamora.