April 22, 2014
The advisory says "ongoing discharge of raw sewage off Bermuda's south coast causes intermittent contamination of the waters along the island's south shore beaches, creating a public health hazard." However, the study that found these issues was conducted in early 2013, and the conditions that cause them -- strong winds and waves in a south-southeasterly direction -- are highly specific.
It goes on to mention that risks to swimmers include gastroenteritis, ear infections, respiratory illnesses, staph infections, Hepatitis A, eye infections, and typhoid, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control currently has no travel notices on its site related to Bermuda.
"No cruise calls have been impacted, there have been no reported illnesses and, in fact, there have been no beach closures caused by the issue," reports Terence Gallagher, executive vice president of Lou Hammond & Associates, which oversees public relations for the Bermuda Tourism Authority.
In its statement, the tourism authority points out that the Bermuda Department of Health tests water samples from its beaches on a weekly basis, and the results continue to meet U.S. standards for swimming.
Although contamination is possible with the right combination of infrequent weather patterns, the tourism authority says conditions improve on their own within hours as soon as the weather changes.
"In the meantime, the Bermuda government is working diligently on long-term solutions to ensure the issue is fully rectified," the statement says.
Cruise lines with upcoming calls on King's Wharf include Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess and Norwegian. None has yet made changes to itineraries as a result of the advisory.
--By Ashley Kosciolek, Copy and Ports Editor