Finnish innovators help get cruise ships back in business

2021-10-14T20:18:49+00:00 October 14th, 2021|Safety|

Several Finnish businesses and organisations have developed new safety approaches for the cruise sector to adopt, in response to new post-pandemic measures.

These new initiatives and research projects are set to bring the industry back from the brink and ensure a safer and successful cruise experience, it was claimed.

Whilst the safety and well being of passengers and staff has always been a top priority for the industry, its recovery now depends on taking health and safety measures to a new level, to drive stability and sustainability in the challenging years ahead.

Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, Finnish research organisations and companies have responded to the industry’s call for new solutions to support its resumption.

One example is The Healthy Travel project. Here researchers collaborated with cruise companies, shipyards, and sub-contractors to find ways of improving health and safety on cruise ships and in terminal buildings.

Researchers in cell biology and industrial management created models to analyse passenger flows on vessels of different sizes and developed processes and procedures to minimise infection risks.

To further understand the role of breathing, coughing, and sneezing in spreading COVID-19, researchers from Tampere University, VTT Technology Research Centre of Finland, and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, created a robot head prototype as part of the AIRCO research project.

The robot’s initial aim was to support the design and planning of all types of indoor spaces, including ships and terminals, and to measure the effectiveness of masks, ventilation and air filtration and purification solutions in preventing the spread of viruses.

Ensuring the indoor air quality (IAQ) is also a crucial factor for minimising infections among passengers and crew.

To support the need for better air purification techniques, interior accommodation provider ALMACO partnered with Genano to provide the marine and offshore industry with advanced air de-contamination technology that removes airborne impurities of all sizes, including microbes and the novel coronavirus.

In addition to air quality, the flow of people and material can have a huge impact on the transmission of airborne viruses. KONE, a manufacturer of marine elevators and escalators, conducted intensive research in partnership with several cruise companies to develop new solutions for people and material flows on ships, while improving health and safety on board and in the terminals.

This involved collecting data with sensors installed on ships, timing activities, and conducting interviews with passengers and crew members.

Similarly, a Hypercell IoT platform uses Bluetooth signal sensors to collect data on people volumes, dwell times, and flows in indoor and outdoor locations.

Accurate data, insight, and new techniques will play a key role in moving forward, as Timo Pakarinen, Managing Director for KONE’s Marine Business explained: “Any changes on cruise ships must be fact-based and commercially viable solutions because the investments required are so large.”

Collaborative research projects such as these, which have been initiated and funded by Business Finland, will continue to produce innovations and technologies to support the recovery and future viability of the cruise industry for many years to come.

“Finland now offers leading technologies and solutions focusing on indoor air quality, passenger flows, safety protocols, and touchless solutions. The insights gained from this vital research are also contributing to the design of new cruise ships,” said Ulla Lainio, Head of Marine & Ports Global Industry Team at Business Finland.