The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s “no-sail” order for cruise ships is currently set to expire at the end of October. Whether this is lifted or extended based on current coronavirus numbers and spread, the need to create the safest possible environment while onboard must be part of the plan to resume business.
Marine ventilation units are more complex because they keep the ship’s onboard climate controlled as well as reducing the growth of mold onboard and removing musty, stale air. The units also affect proper performance of the ship’s engines and other behind-the-scenes technologies.
The Healthy Sail Panel, formed by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, submitted its recommendations to the CDC in September. Their report detailed best practices to protect the public health and safety of guests, crew and the communities where cruise ships call. Their recommendations for Ventilation, HVAC, Filtration Controls were:
- Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled for.
- Cruise operators should use a variety of indoor air management strategies aimed at reducing occupant exposure to infectious droplets/aerosols.
- All cruise operators should upgrade the HVAC systems on their ships to, ideally, MERV 13 filters to minimize pathogen dispersal from infected guests and crew.
- Cruise operators’ indoor air management strategies should be optimized given the constraints of ship age and ventilation type.
- When considering air management strategies, cruise operators should have a primary focus on reducing exposures in the core set of areas where guests and crew would be most vulnerable to droplet/airborne exposure to virus.
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