You may have noticed the recent news about the Covid-19 outbreak on the Norwegian Hurtigruten vessel (MS Roald Amundsen) that has caused intense focus and discussions in Norway and beyond about Covid-19 risks and measures that need to be in place when transporting people on ships.
We receive a lot of questions about this, from the press, passengers and you, our colleagues. This is a short update on what we are doing to keep our ferries safe for everyone.
New procedures and Covid-19 task force
We take this situation extremely seriously and already have a wide range of measures in place on our passenger ferries. We emphasise more cleaning, touchpoints are disinfected regularly and we have strong communication to passengers and staff about the need to use the hand sanitisers and maintain social distancing.
On ferries like ours there is plenty of space to achieve social distancing, whilst also enjoying shopping or a great meal aboard.
Unlike cruise ships, our ferries transport people for a relatively short period of time. While sailing and when the passengers leave, we have a dedicated body of cleaning staff making sure that our ferries are clean and fit for transporting our guests.
Passenger capacity is also reduced to limit the number of people on board at any one time so there is ample space to maintain social distancing.
If a case of Covid-19 should present itself on our ferries, we have clear procedures in place to handle them in a manner that protects our crew and guests so that the relevant person can be isolated and disembarked safely. We also alert the relevant authorities to ensure we handle such incidents in accordance with their recommendations.
Face masks for customers and staff
We recommend passengers wear face masks during entry to and exit from the ferries, as this is where we have seen that there is a risk of passengers not maintaining the necessary distance. In addition, on most of our routes customer-facing staff wear face masks or visors when not protected by plexiglass screens, and we will now extend this policy to our Oslo-Frederikshavn-Copenhagen route.
In light of Hurtigruten’s problems we have re-launched our COVID-19 task force, dedicated to coordinating best practice and improving our procedures, with yesterday’s decision to extend the use of face masks and visors to customer-facing staff on Oslo-Frederikshavn-Copenhagen being the first result of that work.
We all need to take this extremely seriously. I am sure that we will see further initiatives from the task force that will make our ferries even safer for our staff and passengers travelling with us. We are committed to doing everything we can to minimise the risk of the virus spreading on board.
Thank you for doing your utmost to help us provide safe transport services to passengers in these extraordinary times.
August 7, 2020