Clia ocean cruise line members worldwide have agreed to conduct 100 per cent testing of guests and crew on all ships with a capacity to carry 250 or more persons.
The association said that a negative test was required for any embarkation, noting that it is a travel industry first. A spokesperson said: “We see testing as an important initial step to a multi-layered approach that we believe validates the industry’s commitment to making health, safety, and the wellbeing of the passengers, the crew and the communities we visit our top priority.”
Last week, Clia and the UK Chamber of Shipping created a new framework for cruise ship operators to begin sailing again safely. The new documents have been shared with the UK government, which has currently put no date on a restart for the cruise industry.
Bob Sanguinetti, the UK Chamber of Shipping chief executive, said: “This new framework gives the government, passengers, crew and operators the confidence that the very latest science and medical advice has been included in the industry’s planning process. We are not talking about restarting the sector tomorrow, but it is a vital first step in the process to get cruises sailing again when conditions allow and government guidance changes.”
The new framework is based on published guidance from national and international authorities including the World Health Organization and International Maritime Organization. The full framework can be seen here.
The detailed documents for operators and crew lay out what measures should be implemented on board for the safety of crew and guests. For example, it details that face coverings should be worn at the terminal, and onboard when it is not possible to keep an appropriate social distance or other occasions where “deemed appropriate based on completed risk assessments”.
It gives the following examples of risk mitigations:
– Physical signage or markings showing the minimum distance people should be from one another
– Limiting the number of passengers in certain venues to allow for social distancing to be achieved
– Encouraging time spent outside
– Updating seating arrangements to facilitate social distancing
– Changing the layout of walkways and lifts
– Waiter-only seated service for meals and bar service
– Screens between crew members and passengers at desks
The document states that operators may require passengers to fill out a health declaration questionnaire close to the day of departure but prior to arriving at port. If the passenger is identified as having been exposed to, or likely to have been infected by Covid-19, they may be told not to travel to the port.
Andy Harmer, director, Clia UK and Ireland, said: “This is the culmination of extensive dialogue and collaboration by representatives from across the maritime sector working together with government and national health authorities. The rigour and detailed planning that has gone into these framework documents demonstrates the commitment of the cruise industry to caring for public health and upholding a robust and uniform set of safety measures. This is an industry that supports more than 88,000 jobs and generates £10 billion to the economy each year and the industry is taking the necessary steps to be ready to restart in the UK when the time is right.”