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European Union Publishes Covid-19 Guidance for Cruise Ship Operations

EU Guidance for Cruise Ships
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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, an agency of the European Union, has published "COVID-19: EU guidance for cruise ship operations".

The objective of this guidance is to facilitate the re-start of operations of cruise ships in the EU, by recommending minimum measures expected to be implemented by all those concerned, while maintaining general safety and security standards. This Guidance is meant for EU/EEA flagged ships engaged in international voyages and for ships calling at an EU/EEA port irrespective of flag.

According to the guidance, the restart of this important economic and employment activity will be gradual. Cruise operators need to ensure that cruises do not pose unacceptable health risks to passengers, staff and the general public, in particular, when compared to other types of package holiday.

The safe operation of any cruise ship normally requires the involvement of several parties, namely the company managing the ship, the ship’s master and crew, the ports and terminals where the ship will berth/anchor, the State of which flag the ship flies (Flag State) and the States that the ship visits (Port State), which could be a port or an anchorage. In general, the Flag State is responsible for determining what happens on board the ship and Port State is responsible for determining the requirements to be applied by a ship when it enters the territorial waters of that particular State. The cooperation of these main parties concerned is essential to restart (or continue) safe operations and to respond to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This Guidance is divided into three parts and follows a goal-based approach, suggesting for each part the topics to be addressed by the parties involved.

The first part of this Guidance addresses the ship side and recommends the development of a COVID-19 Company and Ship Management Plan, following a tailor-made risk assessment by the company. Such a plan should propose mitigation measures for implementation, together with the possibility of third-party verification.

The second part recommends the development of a COVID-19 Port Management Plan by each Member State/port/terminal receiving cruise ships, for which a minimum set of measures are also suggested.

The third part puts forward the recommended elements on which the company and the port/terminal receiving the ship should agree, with the purpose of having an agreement in place based on those elements before any voyage takes place. It is also expected that procedures and a cooperative framework are established at the same time in case a COVID-19 outbreak occurs on board.

Click here to read the "COVID-19: EU guidance for cruise ship operations"

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