Post-pandemic, the passenger ship sector will have an increased focus on unity and innovation
“Let’s get these ships sailing again,” Virgin Voyages senior vice president of design Dee Cooper says in Passenger Ship Technology’s recent Cruise ships: preparing to sail again webinar (pages 34-35).
And to do that, the cruise ship industry needs to unite, was a key conclusion of the webinar.
Ms Cooper says, “This has been a joint perspective, we have all seen cruise ships around the world parked up, waiting to go back into service. Only together are we are going to be able to solve this and make sure that everybody feels safe to sail again.”
Her views that the industry needs to work together were echoed by her fellow panellists. RINA marine research and development director Alessandro Maccari says, “Teamwork and communication are the key for a quick recovery for the industry.”
While Holland America Group director of design and operations My Nguyen says, “The more unified our voice is as an industry… the quicker we can catapult to recovery.”
Indeed, I agree the industry needs to come to together, to persuade guests of the safety of cruising, to innovate, and find new solutions to deal with the pandemic’s impact.
The changes needed to ship designs and operational requirements to become Covid-friendly are no small task. And Ms Nguyen appeals for innovation. “We encourage all vendors and contractors to innovate – it’s going to take a village and we all need each other to innovate for the future of cruising.”
The cruise industry is already showing signs of uniting and being quick to innovate. In our flooring feature (pages 37-38), Bolidt maritime division director Jacco van Overbeek highlights several solutions the company is developing to help combat the spread of Covid-19. One of these is an antibacterial coating and another, a hybrid-flooring system.
Signs of unity are strong among the cruise sector, with examples including CLIA and cruise lines lobbying the US Government to bring cruises back.
Innovation and unity are also important for the ferry sector, which has also been impacted by Covid-19. Despite the difficult times, ferry operators are still pushing the boat on ship design and innovative alternative propulsion. A good example can be seen from Passenger Ship Technology’s Ferry sector: paving the way towards zero emissions webinar (pages 31-32).
DFDS director, innovation lead, technology and innovation Jakob Steffensen highlights how DFDS used time and resources within the pandemic looking into what a zero-emissions ship looks like and “chasing to make a new generation of the ferry” crossing between Copenhagen and Oslo. The plan is for a 100% fuel cell-powered ship running on green hydrogen, without a combustion engine on board.
And making ferries Covid-friendly is encouraging design innovation. As Interferry chief executive Mike Corrigan says in this issue’s Last Word (page 56), there is a “new twist on capex”. Operators are specifying newbuild and modification features that meet the Covid-safe standards being introduced by classification societies. And this is a positive situation for suppliers, where “significant business gains” are in prospect for those who can satisfy the shift to such technology.
While there is no doubt the Covid-19 pandemic has been brutal for the passenger ship industry, by uniting as an industry, the sector can get through this and come out stronger than ever, with an increased focus on innovation.
Riviera Maritime Media will provide free technical and operational webinars in 2021. Sign up to attend on our events page