Coastal cruises - infection prevention plans are mandatory
Everyone who plans coastal cruises on Svalbard must provide their own infection prevention plans for all aspects of their business. In cooperation between the cruise industry by AECO and the Norwegian authorities, a template has been prepared for this. No one can start coastal cruise operations until the plans have been reviewed by the Governor and Infection Protection Superior in Longyearbyen and they have received feedback.
The template is based on national infection prevention rules, infection prevention rules for tourism on Svalbard, national guides and the law and regulations on infection protection. In addition, the template is based on the standards that already exist in the cruise industry.
- It is positive that this will make it possible for coastal cruises on Svalbard in the future. We will treat the infection prevention plans continuously, says Governor Kjerstin Askholt.
- Coastal cruise poses special challenges for both health and rescue preparedness at Svalbard. Therefore, more stringent requirements are set for such activities, she points out.
In the event of an outbreak of disease on board, vessels should be able to sail to a port in Tromsø to prevent vessels with illness on board taking to port in Longyearbyen. There is also a requirement that there must be health personnel on board.
It is emphasized that it is the companies' own responsibility to ensure that the operation has and follows infection prevention plans. No one can start a cruise business in Svalbard waters until they have received feedback from the Governor.