The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have published the first revision of their joint COVID-19 guidance for cruise ship operations.
It was first published in July, 2020 and follows a goal-based approach, identifying measures to be taken on ships and ashore, addresses health-related issues for passengers and crews, as well as onshore communities, in order to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
In this first revision, the guidance has been updated in the light of the medical and scientific progress made in addressing the pandemic since the first version was published, mainly in the area of testing and vaccination.
The revision has also integrated new recommendations, new guidance and relevant documents, as well as feedback collected from relevant stakeholders.
Planning and co-ordination between all parties involved is a key element. It is also proposed as a common framework for internal and external stakeholder verification, ensuring the effective implementation of all necessary measures for the health protection of passengers, crew and the general public in this sector.
Since its first publication, the guidance has been circulated and published by the IMO. It has also been referenced in several related documents, and it has contributed to the review and enhancement of protocols aimed at the protection of the health of passengers, crew and communities visited by cruise ships.
The update was carried out with the goal of keeping the guidance useful, and to better contribute to enhancing the safety of protocols in the cruise industry with the latest information and experience available, EMSA said.