MSC Cruises has obtained the Biosafe Ship additional class notation from RINA for its flagship vessel, MSC Grandiosa.
The Biosafe Ship, achieved by the MSC Grandiosa, is a goal-based and voluntary notation that aims to certify that the ship is equipped with systems, components, a layout and operational procedures that reduce infection risk of viruses such as COVID-19.
According to MSC, RINA had previously verified that the cruise company’s health and safety protocol met the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) Joint Guidance.
This verification was a crucial part of the process to enable the August restart of MSC Cruises’ operations in the Mediterranean.
MSC Grandiosa is currently on her seventh consecutive weekly cruise, serving guests from the Schengen area. MSC Magnifica is also scheduled to welcome back guests from 19 October for 10-night cruises across the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.
For both ships, MSC Cruises has developed operating procedures that build upon its health and safety measures, including universal COVID-19 testing for all guests and crew prior to embarkation.
They also included protected ‘social bubble’ shore visits at each destination as an “added level of protection for guests” and the introduction of a COVID Protection Plan. With all of these measures in place, MSC Cruises said it aims to offer guests the “safest possible holiday option”.
Furthermore, MSC Cruises said it has engaged Aspen Medical to further assist with the development of the company’s own enhanced protocol and procedures. It comes as MSC Cruises convened a Blue Ribbon COVID-19 Expert Group to support its work in this space on an ongoing basis.
The group includes Professor Christakis Hadjichristodoulou of the University of Thessaly, Greece; Professor Stephan J. Harbarth of the Geneva University Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine; and Doctor Ian Norton, who was formerly the head of the World Health Organization Emergency Medical Team Initiative program from 2014 until January 2020.
Image source: MSC Cruises/Ivan Sarfatti