Cruise industry safety in time of COVID-19

DNV GL launches new certification in infection prevention

DNV GL surveyor

Image courtesy of DNV GL
DNV GL surveyor on board a vessel: The CIP-M surveys and audits are performed by surveyor teams comprised of DNV GL – health-care infection prevention and control experts with experienced maritime auditors.


DNV (Det Norske Veritas) GL, the world’s leading classification society, has launched a new Certificates in Infection Prevention – Maritime (CIP-M) custom certification. It aims to help the maritime industry resume operations better prepared for COVID-19 or other emerging pathogens. 

Genting Cruise Lines is the first customer working toward the CIP-M for their vessel Explorer Dream under the Dream Cruises brand.

As the COVID-19 crisis begins to recede, the world is looking to return to business. For the cruise industry, passenger safety has always been the priority, and the current pandemic has sharpened this focus. To help vessel owners and operators resume safer operations, DNV GL has developed the CIP-M, which enables them to demonstrate they have procedures and systems in place for the proper prevention, control, and mitigation of infection to protect their customers and crews.

“The COVID-19 crisis has been unprecedented in its impact on the maritime industry, and on the cruise lines in particular,” said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV GL – Maritime. “But I hope that with innovative ideas like CIP-M, we can help the industry get moving again in a way that gives passengers and crew confidence that exacting measures are in place to enhance the cruise industry’s already rigorous health and safety standards.”

CIP-M builds on DNV GL’s health-care work in infection risk management, which has been ongoing since 2008. With more than 4,000 audits performed in U.S. hospitals, this work, which is inherent to the company’s accreditation program, helps organizations improve their management of infection risk. 

Experts from DNV GL’s Cruise Center in Miami customized the health-care CIP-M in cooperation with DNV GL Business Assurance. The CIP-M also integrates maritime specific standards, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vessel Sanitation Program, as well as incorporating national and industry guidelines. 

The certification surveys and audits are performed by DNV GL surveyor teams comprised of DNV GL health-care infection prevention and control experts with experienced maritime auditors.

“The ability to demonstrate trusted infection risk prevention and mitigation is a must to win back trust from consumers,” said Luca Crisciotti, CEO of DNV GL Business Assurance. “Building organizational vigilance against infection risk today requires a level previously common to hospitals only. CIP-M is unique in that it builds on proven hospital standards but is specifically tailored to the context of passenger vessels, while incorporating national requirements to enable a robust immediate and long-term response.”

“At Genting Cruise Lines, the safety and well-being of our guests and crew are of paramount importance to us,” said Kent Zhu, president of Genting Cruise Lines. “From the onset of the pandemic, Genting Cruise Lines has been at the forefront in enhancing its preventive and safety measures with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind. We were the first in the industry to launch and introduce our enhanced measures, which we will adopt as the new safety norm for our fleet and we hope for the industry, too. We are proud to continue to pioneer such an important collaboration with DNV GL, which is a first for the cruise and maritime industry. With consumers’ heightened expectations on safety and well-being, the customized CIP-M from a highly reputable health-care expert like DNV GL will indeed further boost consumers’ confidence in cruising, as we recommence operations in the very near future,” added Zhu.

As part of the CIP-M, DNV GL assesses vessel operations, including enhanced sanitation procedures, food preparation and handling, physical distancing requirements, use of personal protective equipment by crew members, maintenance of public health essential systems, emergency response plans, pre-boarding screening, embarking and debarking processes, and itinerary or port planning protocols. Annual surveys on board and company audits ashore are conducted to verify continued compliance and improvement.

The CIP-M assessment of Genting Cruise Lines has already kicked off with a pre-assessment of the company’s management system, to be followed by a certification survey of the Explorer Dream. The company is targeting successful completion of the certification program by the end of June.

“We look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with Genting Cruise Lines as the first cruise line now working toward our new infection prevention certification,” said Cristina Saenz de Santa Maria, regional manager South East Asia, Pacific & India, DNV GL Maritime. “Genting Cruise Lines has been very proactive in mitigating the COVID-19 crisis. The experience gained by operating two vessels in Singapore as temporary accommodation for workers, who have recovered from the coronavirus, could prove useful in their preparations to resume normal operations,” she added.

DNV GL is the world’s leading classification society and a recognized adviser for the maritime industry. The company works to enhance safety, quality, energy efficiency, and environmental performance of the global shipping industry across all vessel types and offshore structures. DNV GL has invested heavily in research and development to find solutions to address strategic, operational, and regulatory challenges. For more information, visit

This article originally appeared in the June 26, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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