One of the measures taken by the Government during the current coronavirus crisis has been the temporary reintroduction of land border controls, as well as limitations on the free movement of the population in Spain. In the case of maritime borders, to date, and pursuant to Order PCM/216/2020, of 12 March, publishing the Agreement of the Spanish Government Council of Ministers of 12 March 2020, only the arrival of passenger ships from the Italian Republic and cruise ships of any origin bound for Spanish ports is prohibited. Consequently, freight and passenger traffic on regular lines with other European countries is authorised, at least for the time being, with passengers having to comply, once at destination, with the rules limiting free movement and confinement laid down by the competent government authorities, the same as the rest of the population.
Specifically, and in light of the above, the ferry of the shipping company Brittany Ferries, which connects the Port of Bilbao with the British port of Portsmouth three times a week, is an authorised regular line and, at the present moment, is not subject to any legal prohibition.
This ferry docked on Tuesday, 17 March, around 14.15 h., at the Port of Bilbao. On arrival, the goods and exactly 148 passengers (not “close to a thousand” as has been wrongly published) were disembarked. Of the passengers, 28 were goods drivers. We do not have data on nationalities, but the shipping company tells us that amongst those travelling were Spanish families and that all passengers were informed, before leaving the UK, of the hygiene measures on board the ferry and of the rules implemented in Spain, which included confinement. On hearing this information and the recommendations, many passengers decided not to travel to Spain and cancelled their reservations.
Therefore, all applicable rules and regulations were, as always, complied with in the Port of Bilbao.