Ferry passengers to be denied entry at Dutch ports

A ban on carrying passengers has been imposed on ferry services to the Netherlands from the United Kingdom. The ban will take immediate effect. Ferries can enter the ports and port areas of Rotterdam and IJmuiden with lorries and their drivers. This measure was taken by the mayors of Rotterdam and Velsen this evening at the request of the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen. The government has taken this step to further restrict travel from the United Kingdom, where a more infectious variant of the COVID-19 virus is spreading.

The mayors of Rotterdam and Velsen made their decision on the basis of the regional port bye-law, under which harbour masters can deny vessels entry to some or all Dutch ports. The ban relates to all Dutch ports served by ferries from the United Kingdom: Rotterdam, Hoek of Holland and IJmuiden. Ferry operators have been informed of the measure. The formal decision means that ferries are no longer permitted to depart for the Netherlands with passengers on board. The measure also applies to passengers with Dutch nationality. Dutch nationals who are unable to return as a consequence are advised to arrange accommodation in the United Kingdom.

The government wishes to ensure that the transportation of essential goods can continue. Ferry crossings will continue for freight lorries. This is in line with the approach taken in the case of air traffic. Cargo flights from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands can continue.

This new step by the government follows the introduction of a ban on air passenger flights which took effect this morning. Over the coming days, the government will work closely with its EU partners to examine ways to further limit the spread of the new variant of the virus from the United Kingdom.

A letter was sent to the House of Representatives this evening informing the House of this decision concerning ferry travel.