Health measures open a pathway for cruise resumption

Extensive new health measures developed with the help of international medical experts are laying the foundation for a carefully controlled resumption of local cruise ship operations in Australia.

These measures – developed as part of a process to create mandatory worldwide policies for all Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) oceangoing cruise ships – have been outlined to Australian government agencies in detail as the cruise industry responds to COVID-19 and plans a pathway towards revival.

CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz said the cruise industry was advocating for the replacement of the current ban on cruising with a conditional process that would allow cruise lines to progress towards approval for a carefully managed resumption in 2021.

“Australia’s relative success in stemming community transmission of COVID-19 – together with the Australasian cruise industry’s robust strategy – creates an opportunity for a tightly managed and phased revival of the country’s $5 billion-a-year cruise industry,” Mr Katz said.

“This would initially involve restricted local cruises for local residents only, with limited passenger numbers, 100% testing of guests and crew, and extensive screening and sanitation protocols in place.”

Under proposals presented to government by CLIA and cruise lines, cruises would initially operate within state or national borders while travel restrictions are in place. This would offer protective protocols against outside infection while at the same time allowing a revival of the economic benefits of cruise tourism in Australia.

“Working with governments and health authorities, cruising can progress a responsible restart domestically within Australia, using ships and crew that have gone through all required quarantine procedures,” Mr Katz said. “Ships and crew would then remain within the Australian safe-zone or bubble, offering cruising to locals within Australia until international borders reopen.”

While cruise operations have been suspended, cruise lines have used this time to develop extensive new health measures in response to COVID-19, to uphold the safety of guests, crew and the communities that cruise ships visit.

This process is being guided by eminent medical and scientific experts internationally and locally and forms the basis of an industry-wide policy covering almost every aspect of a cruise ship’s operations, including the specific screening, sanitisation and medical protocols that will operate in response to COVID-19.

This work has already supported initial resumptions in several jurisdictions around the world.

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