Ponant lends a hand
PONANT’s Le Lapérouse commissioned for the repatriation of Wallis & Futuna residents
During the Covid-19 pandemic, PONANT was entrusted by the official authorities of Wallis and Futuna with the repatriation of several of its residents stranded in New Caledonia. The first repatriation trip was completed on Sunday the 24th of May, allowing more than a hundred residents of Wallis and Futuna to return home.
The French islands of Wallis and Futuna closed their borders on 16th March, and have not been subject to any Covid-19 contamination. The health situation is identical for the PONANT fleet, which has ceased all its cruise activities since 15th March. There have been no cases of contamination on board any of its 11 ships. In this strict sanitary context, an unprecedented operation was launched on the 8th of May to repatriate the population of Wallis and Futuna stranded in Noumea.
It was on board the ship Le Lapérouse, chartered by the State Services in Wallis and Futuna, that 112 residents were able to return to their homes under the strictest medical conditions possible undertaken according to a precise protocol. After 5 days of sailing from Noumea to Mata Utu, the ship remained at anchor for 9 days to complete their quarantine in compliance with the instructions imposed by the health authorities and PONANT procedures.
During their stay on board, passengers were able to enjoy a program of entertainment relayed through the on-board television communications system. Disembarkation, which took place in several stages between Friday the 22nd of May and Sunday the 24th of May, was carried out deck by deck according to the results of medical checks and PCR tests carried out on all passengers, all of which were negative.
“This mission illustrates the ties between PONANT and Wallis and Futuna. We are very attached to the islands of Wallis and Futuna where our vessels have been registered since the company was founded more than 30 years ago. We are glad to contribute to the support of the population during this period,” says Jean-Philippe Lemaire, Captain of Le Lapérouse.
No case of Covid-19 was reported during this exceptional operation.