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Passenger awareness, Shipsan standards seen as key to health management

Dr. Kate Bunyan advocates cooperation on health management and a stronger focus on passenger awareness (Photo: Frederik Erdmann)
A stronger focus on passenger behavior in public health management is a field ripe for closer industry cooperation, while the EU's Shipsan Act is an important basis for pan-European consistency, according to a medical expert on a Seatrade Europe regulatory panel.

Changing passenger behavior is key to avoiding illness outbreaks, along with regulatory compliance and keeping the ship, including crew quarters, in proper condition, according to Dr. Kate Bunyan, Carnival UK's medical director.

The cruise industry is working on ways to communicate the importance of hand washing as a cornerstone of health management. Passenger information and clear, simple communication are elements of a Cruise Lines International Association initiative to address the prevention of outbreaks.

Bunyan also gave insight into the progress of the Shipsan Act, a European Joint Action funded by the European Commission under the Health Program that brings together 32 partners from 24 countries. Shipsan aims for a consistent and proportionate approach to ship inspections based on a jointly developed health manual.

Bunyan said Shipsan can help to implement a high quality, single inspection system throughout the continent, avoiding a great variation of inspection standards in different areas. She also described Shipsan as a tool for the predictable and appropriate response to public health issues on passenger ships throughout Europe.

Carnival UK's medical director further suggested the huge European ferry sector should be involved in the project to balance its outcome and integrate all sectors of passenger shipping.