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  • Melvin Mathews

How a non-intrusive test & trace regime can be effective & implemented in shipping

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

(Photo by Diego F. Parra from Pexels)

During this spring large cruise ships were in the news headlines almost daily as vessels weren’t able to dock due to positive coronavirus cases. Being locked down without the possibility to dismebark passengers, the number of coronavirus infections started to rise. In the world we used to know, hopping on a cruise for a week or two was thought of as one of the safest ways to travel. Now that tables have turned and the need for winning customers’ trust back is crucial.

The first and most important safety measure is to test each passenger for a negative result, but it doesn’t guarantee a corona-free cruise, as the coronavirus germination time can be 14 days. This can lead to a situation where infected passengers are able to get on board causing the virus to potentially spread throughout the vessel and among other passengers. Continuous testing of passengers on board would probably be too heavy a process, considered intrusive and also scare some passengers away.

One way to detect and monitor the coronavirus’s appearance could be found from the wastewater. Cruise ships are often divided into multiple sections when we look at the wastewater system. For example, one vacuum pump unit handles the black water coming from a certain area of decks 6 and 7. By taking wastewater samples and analyzing them quickly, it is possible to detect whether there are infected passengers on board or not.

Analyzing each section’s wastewater systematically gives us a chance to notice the infections before any symptoms appear. As a safety procedure, the section from which the virus was found can be isolated for a short period of time. During this time each passenger of this section can be tested again and the passengers with positive results isolated.

By actively informing potential customers that proactive health and safety measures are in place, wouldn't it be much easier to win customers’ trust back and bring back the confidence in cruise holidays?

Let me know your thoughts.

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