MSC Group Converts Ferry Into Floating Hospital

Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV), a ferry operator that is part of MSC Group, has converted the ferry ship Splendid into a floating hospital equipped for patients with and recovering from COVID-19.

Stationed in the ferry terminal in Genoa, Italy, it has 25 beds in single cabins, although it is possible to equip up to 400 beds. The floating hospital also features a heliport and dedicated areas to healthcare personnel and crew.

GNV started working on the project with classification society RINA in early March, in coordination with Italy’s Liguria Health System and Civil Protection. RINA verified that the floating hospital complied with current regulations, identifying the balance between safety protection, naval regulations, the medical needs of a hospital and the regional health care authority.

In the U.S., Carnival Corp. has offered ships to serve as hospitals for non-COVID-19 patients, to free up space in hospitals. Also, American Queen Steamboat Co. and Victory Cruises have offered idled ships to the military to house personnel who need to be quarantined.

Also, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) launched a new initiative called “Hotels for Hope” to help find lodging in more than 6,500 properties for first responders and health-care workers as the COVID-19 crisis grows.

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MSC ship permitted to disembark in Cozumel

The MSC Meraviglia, which had been turned away from ports in
Jamaica and Grand Cayman because a crew member reported signs of the common
flu, has been cleared for disembarkation by Mexican health authorities in

Mexican officials boarded the ship and conducted medical checks
overnight to make sure that the crew member and a young female passenger, who
also had the common flu, did not have Covid-19 coronavirus. 

Earlier this week, the ship had been denied entry to both Ocho
Rios, Jamaica, and George Town, Grand Cayman, over concerns that the crew member,
who had embarked in Miami after traveling through Manila, had coronavirus. The
passenger later also exhibited signs of the flu. 

Once the ship arrived in Cozumel on Wednesday, the 4,580
passengers and 1,600 crew members were not allowed to disembark until the crew
member and passenger were tested. 

The results were tested at a Mexican Ministry of Public Health
laboratory in the city of Chetumal. It was determined that the crew member and
guest do not have Covid-19 coronavirus. 

”The Mexican authorities followed the correct maritime protocols
whereby a ship in advance provides medical records of any passenger or crew
member who is or has been unwell to the next port she visits,” MSC Cruises
executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said in a written statement.  

Passengers will now be allowed to spend a full day in Cozumel
before departing tonight for the ship’s homeport in Miami. 

Vago said he was disappointed with decisions by Jamaica and Grand
Cayman to bar passengers from disembarking there. 

“This led to unnecessary and unjustifiable anxiety, not only for
our passengers and crew on board, but right across the Caribbean’s tourism
sector, and possibly even further beyond,” he said.

Passengers will receive a 100 percent refund of their cruise

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