Cruise ships and COVID-19/Corona Virus

How cruise ship owners are managing COVID-19

Apr. 27 2020 - 4 min

As Covid-19 spreads around the world, cruise ship owners and operators are working to keep their vessels safe and compliant, with an eye towards market recovery.

The cruise industry has been particularly hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Certain ports worldwide have refused to allow cruise ships to enter the port, and countries such as the United States have issued a no sail order until mid-July, with the option to rescind earlier depending on the COVID-19 situation. Most cruise lines have canceled travel through the end of May, with several canceling voyages all the way through June.

During this period of suspended activity, owners are considering a range of options that will both maintain the safety of their vessels and allow for a quick recovery when the pandemic has calmed.

Ship lay-ups on deck for many owners

Many cruise ship owners and operators are looking to lay-ups as a possibility for their vessels, with almost 20% of cruise ships already laid-up as of early April.

Hot lay-ups are a strong choice in the short-term, as this allows the vessel to remain in operation. With the crew still onboard, regular maintenance being conducted and all machinery operating, owners can pick up operations within 2-3 days.

Warm lay-ups are another good option, allowing owners to reduce crew to a minimum while maintaining essential vessel operations. A step between hot lay-ups and cold lay-ups, this allows vessels to come back into service within a week, while freeing up a portion of service and engineering crew.

Cold lay-ups are a third possibility, though this is typically recommended for ships that will be out-of-service for over a year. As all machinery ceases to operate and crew are disbanded, restarting operations after a cold lay-up can take up to three weeks.

Making surveys possible with digital technologies

Thanks to a range of remote inspection technologies, owners can have their vessels undergo survey from a distance. Onboard surveyors can use aerial drones, ROVs and crawlers to inspect cruise ships, assessing key areas (“seeing remotely”). With webcams, connected devices, and smart glasses, and support from our Remote Survey Centers, surveyors can conduct entirely remote surveys to verify cruise ship compliance (“deciding remotely”). Once the remote survey is complete, Bureau Veritas can then produce a digital certificate confirming the validity of classification and statutory certifications.

Supporting the cruise industry through a crisis

Bureau Veritas is helping cruise owners and operators weather the Covid-19 pandemic with classification expertise and an in-depth knowledge of statutory and regulatory requirements. Our regulations for laid-up ships (NI 545) are helping owners keep ships safe and operational in the short- and medium-term. Thanks to our digital technologies and remote survey capabilities, our surveyors are available to verify vessel compliance at a distance, completing surveys when our clients need them most.

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