US CDC issues Framework for Conditional Sailing Order

US CDC issues Framework for Conditional Sailing Order
The framework will require a phased approach to the resumption of passenger operations

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, establishing a framework of actionable items for the cruise industry to follow to enable it to resume passenger operations. The order applies to cruise ships with capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in US waters.

“This framework provides a pathway to resume safe and responsible sailing. It will mitigate the risk of Covid-19 outbreaks on ships and prevent passengers and crew from seeding outbreaks at ports and in the communities where they live,” says Robert Redfield, CDC director. “CDC and the cruise industry have a shared goal to protect crew, passengers and communities and will continue to work together to ensure that all necessary public health procedures are in place before cruise ships begin sailing with passengers.”

The framework requires a phased approach to the resumption of passenger operations, due to the continuing spread of Covid-19 worldwide, the possibility of resurgence in countries that have suppressed the virus, and the need to test the effectiveness of measures onboard cruise ships.

During the initial phases, operators must demonstrate adherence to testing, quarantine and social distancing requirements to protect crew members. They must also build the necessary laboratory capacity to test passengers and crew. Subsequent phases will include simulated voyages with volunteers to test the cruise operators’ ability to mitigate risk, achieve certification and return to sailing.

“Our member lines are 100 per cent committed to helping to protect the health of our guests, our crew and the communities we serve, and are prepared to implement multiple layers of protocols informed by the latest scientific and medical knowledge,” said Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association. “We look forward to reviewing the new order and are optimistic that it is an important step towards returning our ships to service from US ports.”

The CDC will help ships prepare by establishing a laboratory team dedicated to cruise ships to provide oversight for testing and updating its colour-coding system to indicate ship status. It will also revise its technical instructions as necessary and update its ‘Enhanced Data Collection During Covid-19 Pandemic Form’ to prepare for surveillance for Covid-19 among passengers.

Read the order in full here

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
02 November 2020

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