Ship sail

First cruise ship in two years arrives in Victoria after pandemic break

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first cruise ship has arrived in Victoria.

Holland America’s Koningsdam ship has arrived shortly after 10 a.m. at Ogden Point with 1,200 passengers on board.

It was the first cruise ship to dock in Canada after two years, and it was the ship’s first trip to Victoria.

“I stood out on our dock today alongside my colleagues as we welcome the first ship back to Victoria since October 2019, it was an emotional moment,” said Anna Pousty of the Victoria Cruise Industry Alliance.

The Koningsdam was originally supposed to be the second ship to arrive, but Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess canceled its scheduled voyage due to maintenance work.

Victoria expects 364 ship calls by early November and 780,000 passengers expected, although the Port Authority admits things are constantly changing.

“We see canceled and added ships every day and we will even continue to see it throughout the season. It’s not uncommon that early in the season we’ll see these ships adjust, we’ll see ships added, ships canceled, from what we can see it’s going to be a good year for the comeback to cruising in Victoria,” said Ian Robertson, CEO of the Greater Victoria Ports Authority.

Earlier this week, the Koningsdam was listed on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website that tracks COVID cases on cruise ships to an orange level, but has since been downgraded to a green level.

A green level means there are no confirmed cases of COVID on board a ship, and an orange level means at least 0.3% of people on board a ship have tested positive.

A CDC spokesperson told CHEK News in an emailed statement that a vessel’s color status is determined based on the past seven days.

“The color status of a cruise ship is determined using monitoring data submitted daily over the previous 7 days (regardless of travel dates) and CDC investigation findings,” the statement read.

“If a cruise ship participating in CDCThe COVID-19 program for cruise ships is designated as “orange” status on CDCit is Cruise Ship Status Dashboardthis means that the ship has reported cases of COVID-19 that have encountered CDCthe investigation threshold. CDC inform cruise ship of color status and remind cruise ship CDC‘s advice on preventive measures.

The statement said the investigation threshold was developed to reflect the desire for transparency about COVID cases aboard cruise ships, as well as to reflect that cruises are not a zero-risk activity.

“This investigation threshold gives the CDC and the cruise industry the opportunity to work closely together to protect the health and safety of people on board and in communities,” the statement said. “The CDC’s goals for establishing the threshold included reducing continued transmission of COVID-19 between voyages and ensuring onboard medical resources are not overwhelmed.”

Holland America released a statement to CHEK News that all of their ships meet CDC standards, as well as all Canadian port requirements, including requiring all guests and crew to be vaccinated, test guests before sailing and requiring crews to wear KN95 masks at all times. .

“By running our cruises with protocols based on the latest advice and guidance from our global experts, we have seen a very low rate of cases among our guests, and in almost all of these cases, cases with mild or no symptoms,” Holland America’s statement said. “We remain committed to adapting to changing circumstances while protecting the safety of our guests, team members and the communities we visit.”

However, not everyone is thrilled to see cruise ships returning.

Extinction Rebellion is to protest the arrival of cruise ships in Victoriahoping to raise awareness of the environmental harms of the cruise industry, including how ships dispose of sewage, the amount of waste produced on ships, and the type of fuel.

Holland America’s 2022 Sustainability Report indicates that their ships’ wastewater is separated into three categories: gray water, black water and bilge water.

Gray water is water that comes from sinks, showers and laundry rooms.

“This represents the largest volume of wastewater our ships generate, and we may or may not treat the water before discharge, depending on the ship’s capabilities,” the report said. “In 2020, we discharged approximately 0.65 million metric tons of untreated gray water, which accounted for 51% of all wastewater discharged into the sea.”

Black water is water that comes from toilets and sinks in medical facilities.

“They use primary filtration, biodigestion, ultrafiltration and ultraviolet light technology to produce a discharge – called permeate – of higher quality than the effluent that most municipal wastewater treatment plants discharge into most communities. “, says the report. “In 2020, we discharged over 0.58 million metric tons of permeate, which accounted for 47% of our wastewater discharges to sea.”

And bilge water is the water from the lower parts of the vessel that contains oils released from equipment in the engine compartments.

“To treat bilge water, we use a cascade treatment system that circulates and recirculates the fluid through increasingly efficient oil-water separators until the oil content is below 15 parts per million,” the report said. “In 2020, we discharged approximately 15,000 metric tons of treated bilge water, which represented less than one percent of all wastewater discharged by our fleet.”

The report says the company aims to reduce the amount of single-use plastics and waste used and created on ships, and the company aims to reduce its “carbon intensity” by 40% by 2040.

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