The new system aims to determine whether asymptomatic crew members, who currently remain stranded amid the pandemic and are awaiting repatriation, must stay secluded their cabins during non-work hours or can be allowed use of communal facilities, such as crew bars, gyms or meeting spaces.
TNow ten weeks into the ‘No Sail’ order, outbreaks of illness have continued to spread among the over-62,000 crew members still trapped aboard cruise vessels afloat in U.S. waters. An ongoing investigation by the Miami Herald
has thus far confirmed 63 ships, which together constitute almost a quarter of the world’s ocean-going cruise fleet, linked to COVID-19 cases.
The color-coding system will serve to distinguish which vessels should be cleared to disembark their crew members via commercial means of transportation, while at-risk crews will be obliged to remain quarantined at sea.
The CDC plans to publish a scorecard for each ship still which will reflect its infection level, within the coming week.
Essentially, the color-coded designations are as follows:
—Green – Ships reporting zero COVID-19 cases or similar illnesses for the past 28 days
—Yellow – Vessels having had one or more cases of COVID-like illness within the past 28 days, pending confirmation through testing
—Red – Ships with one or more actual, confirmed COVID-19 cases aboard within the past 28 days.
Each category comes with specific requirements and recommendations applicable to asymptomatic crew members onboard. Green ships’ crew members are being advised to stay in single-occupancy cabins with private bathrooms, whereas this is a requirement aboard yellow and red ships. Also, the closure of shared crew facilities will be mandated for yellow and red ships, but not for green.
The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) has communicated that its member cruise companies are all doing their best to conform to CDC rules and are eager to repatriate their crews.
“We are doing everything we possibly can for our crew, and we are frustrated as they are about the difficulty in getting them home,” Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, told USA Today. “Money is literally no object. We are willing to charter flights home, wherever home may be.”
Much of the difficulty, he said, is due to the fact that, “we are dealing with a regulatory landscape that seems to change daily and forces us to adjust our plans just as frequentl
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