Storylines joins a panel discussion on the future of Health and Safety at Sea
Following the recent success of our Pandemic Response video and associated Health and Safety Protocols, Storylines was invited, along with a small panel of special guests in the cruise industry, to share knowledge and experience on a number of topics regarding health and safety at sea. Invited by Tillberg Design of Sweden (TDoS), the webinar, hosted by Frederick Johansson and Per Eriksson, business directors at TDoS, had over 150 attendees made up of cruise line executives and industry leaders.
The panelists of the webinar were:
- Shannon Lee, Co-Founder of Storylines, a private all-inclusive residential ship providing affordable and sustainable residences at sea for those who want to be at home anywhere in the World.
- Hampton Bridwell, CEO and managing partner of Tenet Partners, the brand innovation and marketing consultancy firm based in New York
- Maurizio Eliseo, owner of Thalia Marine Services; naval architects, interior designers and marine surveyors involved in cruise ship new-builds and refurbishments
- Peter Hult, CEO of Vikand Medical Solutions, the leading provider of medical management and medical consulting services to the cruise, yacht, and offshore industries
After a brief introduction, Peter Hult of Vikand Medical Solutions raised some challenges and opportunities from a medical and healthcare point of view. He said “There is a huge constraint around the issue of COVID-19 and the problem is, very incorrectly, the cruise industry has been labelled as one of the major carriers of COVID-19. It is very inaccurate but it's, unfortunately, the way it's been portrayed. There is a group that is looking to create a hospital system that will sit in the free trade zone of each port, so (that people) can be taken care of in the port and not enter into the (country's) healthcare system.” He continued to say, “The industry is working very closely to create a safe environment.”
Maurizio Eliseo of Thalia Marine Services shared experiences from the quarantine of NCL’s vessel Diamond Princess and presented examples of up-to-date preventive technology and innovation. He said, “When it comes to trying to find a solution for present and future ships, not only the designers of the ships but also the industry, the port authorities, and the onshore technical managers of the cruise companies must take their part in the responsibilities and it must be full cooperation.”
Shannon Lee from Storylines shared his view and vision of safe cruising; "One of the big things that we're on the front line of is providing complimentary doctor visits. As we are a residential model, we thought it was important, instead of price gouging clients for a $4000 to $6000 bill for a small hospital visit on board. People should feel confident if there is a problem."
Shannon went on to say "Other things that we have onboard are a wellness room that incorporates things like mental wellness, available for residents and crew, physiotherapy, and immune therapies (are also included). Plus we also have a pharmacy and a pharmacist on board. We really believe that Storylines has an advantage here because we've been designing a safer ship for three years. We've been lucky enough to be ahead of this from the start, I think because we've always been practicing good design when it comes to health."
Hampton Bridwell for Tenet Partners said, “The Storylines brand is going to be able to put together something that wasn’t being delivered in years previous, to something new and innovative in the years to the future; to be able to make something pretty special and innovative.”
Maurizio added, “There are many opportunities, without huge financial costs, to build ships where the ventilation stations contain systems where, when the public areas are not used they can be easily cleaned without jeopardizing the opportunity of the housekeeping department to carry on their work. The key product of the ventilation systems is ozone or oxygen and the ventilation can clean up the area in just a few minutes after being used.”
It was unanimously agreed on that the cruise industry is already very well prepared for dealing with extreme situations and severe sicknesses onboard, but it requires a reliable collaboration between authorities, shipping companies, ports, and medical expertise – a collaboration which can only be improved. The attendees at the webinar all showed great optimism and willingness to face the challenges together and to ameliorate all possible aspects, both for the cruise business itself and for the passengers on board the ships.
Shannon suggested the cruise lines come together as one united front for better delivery of information. The meeting was finalized with Shannon proposing an initiative to help consumers learn what cruise ships and ports are doing to ensure their safety.
Since the webinar, a number of cruise line representatives and associated industry leaders have come forward to get involved. A forum is being organized now with the next meeting to be hosted by Storylines in the coming weeks.