.The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have today published a first revision of their joint COVID-19 guidance for cruise ship operations
The guidance was initially published in July 2020 and follows a goal-based approach, identifying measures to be taken on ships and ashore. It addresses health-related issues for passengers and crews, as well as on-shore communities, in order to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
In this first revision, the guidance has been updated in the light of the medical and scientific progress made in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic since the first version was published, mainly in the area of testing and vaccination.
The revision has also integrated new recommendations, new guidance and relevant documents, as well as feedback collected from relevant stakeholders.
Planning and coordination between all parties involved is a key element of this document. It is also proposed as a common framework for internal and external stakeholder verification, ensuring the effective implementation of all necessary measures for the health protection of passengers, crew and the general public in this sector.
Since its first publication the guidance has been circulated and published by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). It has also been referenced in several related documents, and it has contributed to the review and enhancement of protocols aimed at the protection of the health of passengers, crew and communities visited by cruise ships.
This contribution was also recognised in the Joint Statement by the IMO and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) released on 5 November 2020.
The update has been carried out with the goal of keeping the guidance useful, and to better contribute to enhancing the safety of protocols in the cruise industry with the latest information and experience available.