Last updated: 02:51 PM ET, Mon August 10 2015

Bahama Mama Ferry Fails CDC Inspection

Impacting Travel | Theresa Norton | August 10, 2015

Bahama Mama Ferry Fails CDC Inspection

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

The Bahama Mama, a ferry operated by Balearia Bahamas Express, failed a sanitation inspection conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The ship, which operates between Fort Lauderdale and Freeport, scored a 69 on its June 11 inspection, below the 86 that is considered satisfactory, according to the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP). The score was recently posted on the CDC website.

Among the violations were several dealing with food preparation and storage. “Lack of supervisory knowledge of food safety was evident during the inspection,” according to the inspection report.

Some foods were not kept at the proper temperature or didn’t have the related documentation. Some nonfood-contact areas, such as cabinets, drawers, stovetop, refrigerator fan grates and dumb waiter, were “heavily soiled” with food debris or dust, the report states. Two insects were spotted in a recessed area of the provision room. In another case cited by the inspectors, a container of raw hamburger patties was stored above a tray of raw bacon.

In addition, there were improper testing devices or record-keeping for potable water and the swimming pool. Also, some crew members didn’t complete health assessments before boarding the vessel.

Phone calls and emails to Bahamas Express seeking comment and whether corrective action was taken were not immediately returned. A corrective report was not yet posted on the CDC website.

The 1,000-passenger Bahama Mama began operating the ferry service in February, replacing the 460-passenger Alhucemas.

It departs Fort Lauderdale at 8 a.m. and arrives in Freeport at noon, departing there at 6 p.m. and arriving back at Port Everglades at 10 p.m. Round-trip fares start at $119.

The ship has bar service, a self-service buffet and an a la carte restaurant. It has first- and economy-class seating, cabins and suites, and a casino.

The VSP inspections were introduced in the early 1970s and are required for all passenger ships that call at a U.S. port. The unannounced inspections are carried out by U.S. Public Health officials twice a year for every cruise ship.

The score, on a scale from one to 100, is assigned on the basis of a checklist involving dozens of areas of assessment, encompassing hygiene and sanitation of food (from storage to preparation), overall galley cleanliness, water, shipboard personnel and the ship as a whole.

For more information on Fort Lauderdale, Freeport, Bahamas, Florida

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