Carnival Conquest made last-minute changes to its ongoing cruise by announcing that it would no longer call on Panama.
In the last few weeks, local unrest has escalated in the country due to a controversial mining contract. The vessel finalized its decision based on recommendations from its corporate security team.
Letter to guests on Carnival Conquest
|“As part of our regular safety and security procedures, we routinely monitor the local destinations our ships visit, relying on government and law enforcement expertise. Based on current information related to ongoing protests in various parts of Panama, including Colon, our corporate security team has determined that we should cancel Wednesday’s planned visit.”
Any pre-purchased shore excursions, fees, taxes, and port expenses related to the visit in Colon will be reimbursed to passengers’ accounts.
On the same note, Carnival announced that there were no viable ports that they could replace Colon with. After stopping at Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, Conquest will spend an extra day at sea instead of arriving at its next destination, Cartagena, Colombia, a little earlier.
What’s happening in Panama?
On October 20, the government signed a contract with a Canadian mining company, First Quantum Minerals. It grants 20-year mining rights to the foreign entity with the possibility of extending them for another 20 years. The agreement will generate an annual revenue of $375 million for the government.
Indigenous groups, students, and environmentalists have been rallying against the mining contract. The movement has rapidly grown in the last three weeks, leading to civil unrest, road blockades that have cut off supplies, and even the death of 2 protesters.
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The government has emphasized that the contract will boost local employment. Still, protesters are concerned that the mining activities will destroy the environment and offer zero benefits to the local community.
Last month, several cruise lines were also forced to make sudden changes to their itineraries due to the war in Israel. With signs that the Israel-Hamas political clashes are nowhere near over, many of them canceled their entire Middle East seasons.