Leading cruise ship companies Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and Royal Caribbean Group have announced the collaboration of renowned international public health experts in developing improved health and safety protocols for their cruise ships in response to the global pandemic of the COVID-19.
The companies have asked former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt and Dr. Scott Gottlieb for their collaboration as co-chairs of the “Healthy Sail Panel” expert group, recently created by both shipping companies. The main objective of this panel is to develop a series of recommendations aimed at responding to the public health challenges posed by COVID-19, improving protocols and measures, and preparing for the resumption of cruise operations with all the guarantees of Health and security.
The group of experts has been working intensively for a month and is expected to present its first recommendations in late August. Both cruise companies have commented that their work will be “open source”, so any company or industry can freely adopt it and benefit from the scientific and medical knowledge of these renowned specialists.
“We are facing an unprecedented situation that requires the development of unique standards in health and safety,” emphasized Richard D. Fain, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “The incorporation of these respected experts as advisers in this process demonstrates our commitment to protecting our passengers, equipment, and the communities we visit,” he said.
“We compete on a daily basis in the business of recruiting clients to enjoy their vacations, but we have never entered a competition related to health and safety protocols,” said Frank Del Rio, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “While the cruise industry has always had rigorous health and safety standards, the exceptional challenges posed by COVID-19 offer us the opportunity to further raise that bar,” he noted.
“Health and safety are the highest priorities for all cruise lines that make up CLIA, as evidenced by this initiative that has been launched by two of our most important members. We applaud these actions, as well as the efforts carried out in parallel by all of our members, who work tirelessly to develop appropriate protocols based on recommendations from health authorities and medical experts in the United States and other countries, “said Kelly Craighead, President and CEO, International Cruise Lines Association (CLIA) ).
Fain and Del Rio added that one of the objectives of this panel is to ensure that the protocols that will be presented at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the United States, and other regulators contain the best available health knowledge. public, science and engineering. The work done by the panel will be shared with the entire industry and regulators.
“In convening the” Healthy Sail Panel “, we seek the participation of a diverse group of leading experts in the areas of science and public health that are directly relevant to the considerations listed in the No Sail Order,” he said. , former Governor Leavitt. “We view our work as a profoundly important public health effort. The health and safety of passengers, crew, and communities visiting cruise ships will be the primary focus of this project.”
Dr. Gottlieb has said, “We know that the public health problems ahead of us are complex and, in some areas, addressing them will require innovative approaches. Our goal in bringing together this team of leading experts was to develop world-class practices that can improve the security and provide a roadmap to reduce the risks of COVID-19 “.
The panel is co-chaired by former Governor Mike Leavitt, who also served as secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Panel members are globally recognized experts in various disciplines, including public health, infectious diseases, biosecurity, hospitality, and maritime operations.