CDC changes no sail order
US body now has 'conditional sailing order' in place
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US health body, has changed its ‘no sail’ cruise order to a ‘conditional sailing order’.
The move means that, in theory, cruises are no longer banned in the United States. However, cruise lines will need to work with the CDC before their ships can begin sailing.
“The initial phases will consist of testing and additional safeguards for crew members,” the CDC said. It has been reported that initial cruises will not have paying passengers on board, to prove to the authorities that they can be run safely.
“CDC will ensure cruise ship operators have adequate health and safety protections for crew while these cruise ship operators build the laboratory capacity needed to test future passengers. Subsequent phases will include simulated voyages to test cruise ship operators’ ability to mitigate Covid-19 risk, certification for ships that meet specific requirements, and a phased return to cruise ship passenger voyages in a manner that mitigates Covid-19 risk among passengers, crew members, and US communities.
“These phases are subject to change based on public health considerations and cruise ship operators’ demonstrated ability to mitigate Covid-risk. CDC will issue additional orders as needed that will be published in the Federal Register and technical instructions that will be subsequently posted on CDC’s website.”
“Our member lines are 100 percent committed to helping to protect the health of our guests, our crew and the communities we serve, and are prepared to implement multiple layers of protocols informed by the latest scientific and medical knowledge,” said Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). “We look forward to reviewing the new Order and are optimistic that it is an important step toward returning our ships to service from U.S. ports.”
The CDC will help ships prepare and protect crew members during the initial phases by:
- establishing a laboratory team dedicated to cruise ships to provide information and oversight for COVID-19 testing,
- updating its colour-coding system to indicate ship status,
- updating its technical instructions, as needed, and
- updating the “Enhanced Data Collection (EDC) During COVID-19 Pandemic Form” to prepare for surveillance for COVID-19 among passengers.