Diamond Princess, which was caught in a web of negative headlines after Covid-19 infections were found among its guests and was subjected to a two-month-long quarantine at a Yokohama port, has finally been certified by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) as being fit to sail with no traces of Covid-19 on board.
The welcome development comes after an intense disinfection of its entire premises, including all public and crew access areas, staterooms, crew cabins, dining and entertainment areas, by US-based BELFOR Holdings, Inc.
BELFOR was selected from among many top service providers that responded to Princess Cruises’ global request for proposal and was approved by the MHLW which instituted the quarantine of the ship.
Working with oversight by Princess Cruises and MHLW authorities, BELFOR conducted level-three cleaning procedures according to the protocols established, specified, monitored and approved by the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH), MHLW and Princess Cruises.
Implementing the highest regard for the safety and well-being of all individuals involved in the disinfection process, technicians have been cleaning using high-grade, full personal protective equipment (PPE). The process entailed first the removal of all linens, bedding, and other material. Then, the team disinfected the entire vessel (all areas in which guests and crew interacted with the vessel) including all high touch surfaces (corridors, handrails, door handles, etc.) and the application of disinfectant.
Disinfection and cleaning also included carpet and hard-surface flooring as well as the entire heating, ventilating, air conditioning systems through-out the ship.
Hundreds of team members from BELFOR’s Japan and North America operations have been working around the clock since early March to complete the project.
As planned, Diamond Princess has moved from its present location at Daikoku terminal in Yokohama harbour to a nearby shipyard to complete hotel refurbishment – including the replacement of all mattresses, linens, games, toys, and other service items – as well as some planned technical projects. This phase is expected to be completed in May 2020.
Princess Cruises had previously voluntarily paused global operations of its 18 cruise ships until May 10. Details of subsequent cruise departures will be published in due course.