MSC Cruises has developed a new health and safety operating protocol to support its return to service once the time is right.
The company recently announced a Blue-Ribbon COVID-19 Expert Group with the objective of providing third-party verification that all existing protocols meet established guidance from industry experts.
“Today I am pleased to announce that the work of our task force is being further supported by the formation and engagement of a Blue-Ribbon COVID-19 Expert Group for consultation on protocols and planning, as well as bringing additional specialised advice to augment our own existing resources and knowledge," said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises.
Objectives of the Blue-Ribbon COVID-19 Expert Group
According to Vago, the objective of our Blue-Ribbon COVID-19 Expert Group in the fields of medicine, public health, and/or related scientific disciplines is to create a group of highly-qualified and internationally-respected experts to inform and review the company's initiatives as they relate to COVID-19 to help ensure that the actions taken are appropriate, effective, and informed by the best available science and health practices.
"For this reason, this Expert Group will have competency to review policy initiatives, technical innovations, or operational measures related to COVID-19," Vago continued. "It will remain in place long beyond our return to operations to ensure we benefit from their know-how and input even as the situation continues to evolve and more data become available.”
Working with public health authorities
MSC Cruises has been working closely with regional, national and local public health authorities including, among others, those in Europe, US, Brazil, and China - both directly and through the industry association CLIA.
“Currently, our focus is on next-phase work with authorities – including those responsible for health, transport and the maritime sector – in countries overlooking the Mediterranean as they are examining the most recent EU and international guidelines and looking to incorporate them as appropriate in their own local requirements," said Bud Darr, MSC Group’s Executive Vice President for Maritime Policy and Government Affairs. "This is in fact the region where, thanks to the improvement in the health situation ashore and return to travel by citizens, we currently expect a potential resumption of cruise operation following the now nearly completed and successful reopening of other travel and leisure activities across the region.”
Designed to exceed guidelines
MSC Cruises’ new operating protocol – details of which will be announced soon – has been designed to meet and exceed guidelines provided by key international and regional regulatory and technical bodies including the World Health Organization, the EU Healthy Gateways Joint Action and European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), as well as regulations set forth by many of the governments in the countries in which MSC Cruises ships operate.
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