How do you clean a ship?

Bobbert
5th January 2010, 09:23
According to the Daily Mail article HERE (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1240648/Cursed-Hundreds-stricken-stomach-bug-hits-luxury-liner-times-weeks.html) the ship was "deep cleansed" in a day. Is this possible?

Looks pretty bad for the company that so many fall ill.

Too soon a turnaround so as not to lose business?

Just hope they get to the root of the problem

Old Janner
5th January 2010, 11:35
You can sanitize a ship in a day if you only look to passenger areas.

Questions that need to be answered are :-
1/ Was all the Crew accommodation sanitized including stores areas ?
2/ Was all food preperation areas sanitized?
3/ What Nationality are the Catering Crew ?
4/ Do the Catering crew have regular Stool, Urine and throat swab tests which are only valid for six months.
5/ Is there regular Food Safety inspections made of the Galleys storooms etc.,
6/ Are food samples taken from each meals labled and dated, for Analysis tests ?
7/ Are water samples taken to test for Bacterias ?
8/ Why is it we see passengers infected, but no mention of the crew.
9/ Do the Catering Managers and Doctor carry out routine training for all caterers in personal hygiene and is all training recorded and kept.
10/ What procedures do they follow to insure that foods are kept at the correct hot or chilled temperatures during the service.

And you can go on and on.
If someone can give me answers to the above questions I can give you my own opinion of the possible cause.

Nick Balls
5th January 2010, 11:46
I don't know about passenger vessels, but ALL the British Merchant vessels I worked on were always kept spotless! In earlier years Masters inspection occurred rigorously, once a week. In later years on smaller vessels British Crews always had great pride in keeping every nook and cranny clean , with polished alleyways and spotless galleys........ not the case I am afraid with some other nationalities! Spent some time handing over a vessel to a foreign crew........ The Cook was a grubby individual , who's most hygienic habit was smoking in the galley!!!!!!! No I would say that any vessel that has become neglected can not be cleaned in a week , never mind a day!!!

Old Janner
5th January 2010, 12:25
Nick, what I said was a passenger ship could be sanitized in a day, but not all the ship.
If their is a Virus on board cleaning will help, but the main attack must be a deep Sanitization with chemical sprays.

Spence.

Ian6
5th January 2010, 13:42
Just over a year ago my wife and I did a 10 day Hurtigruten voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes (Norwegian/Russian border) and back to Trondheim. The ship and crew were all Norwegian and impressively clean, smart and efficient (No, I am not on commission and don't have any shares in Hurtigruten !)
With a daily sailing and a combined ferry/cruise operation where passengers joined and left at many intermediate ports they were very conscious of the risks of infection coming aboard.
As you returned aboard they insisted on spraying your hands with an alcohol based antibacterial agent and likewise as you went into every meal your hands were sprayed. No one objected, no one was ill. Perhaps these giant cruise ships should follow the example - although their desire for every possible profit means they would charge you £1 (plus tip) a time I expect.
Ian

chris8527
5th January 2010, 14:14
My wife and I recently cruised with a major cruise line. When returning from ashore and before entering any of the restaurants during regular serving hours, guests' hands were sprayed by a crew member with a sanitizing agent. Hand sanitizers were available at all other times.

Despite this, we had a virus outbreak.

I think a contributing factor is the self-service buffet where people shovel food from the service bar onto their plates. This is the first thing that is closed when there is an outbreak and guests are subsequently served by the ship's staff.

If cruise lines were serious about the potential for these outbreaks, wouldn't it make sense to eliminate the self-service food areas? Of course, the guests who like to load up at meal times would be forced to ask for their trough to be filled rather than filling it themselves. Which might make them think twice about the quantities that they shovel down their gullets.

TIM HUDSON
5th January 2010, 14:21
I sailed on many British and Norweigan flag ships with crews from 3rd. world and on occasion saw them go out of galley on to poop deck for a pee over the side and then wander back to work. Somehow the seafarers insides must adjust to 'sailing mode' !! Didn't seem to matter how often the benefits of running water were drummed in.

PhilColebrook
5th January 2010, 20:47
The men on here will know how few men wash their hands after going to the loo. I'm sure basic personal hygiene has a lot to do with this.

Did ships of the past use to face this problem, whether due to Noro virus or earlier viruses?

Old Janner
6th January 2010, 10:37
The men on here will know how few men wash their hands after going to the loo. I'm sure basic personal hygiene has a lot to do with this.

Did ships of the past use to face this problem, whether due to Noro virus or earlier viruses?

Phil, I agree personal hygiene is the first part of safety for every person even more so for catering crews.
In all my 32 years deep sea on various types of ships, I never came accross food poisioning. or any type of Virus, perhaps us older Seamen were more resistent to tummy bugs!
If any person had the runs it was from being in port, drinking to much or eating dodgy food from a cafe / shack, heho get on with the job and forget to be carefull in the next port.
At present I am doing food safety and Hygiene consultancy for a Major Oil Company, where everything HSE related are recorded, if two or more people have Diaohreha it is classed as an incident, which has to be investigated by a team and findings made available for management. In addition,according to the investigation results, the team have to provide a plan to eliminate the risk of this happening again.
The key points are Training and procedures and regular checking to insure that procedures are being followed.
The company I am working with have just produced two and a half million meals from April to December, with only one incident involving three men, who after investigation and stool analysis, was proven it was an upset not from the company food but from a small party eating in the same restaurant and having bad Vodka.
The Cooks and all staff are Azeri Nationals, they have six monthly food handlers medicals, we conduct daily training in all aspects of food safety and personal hygiene. We conduct internal safety audits and have external safety audits on a quarterly basis.
Alchol based hand sanitizers are at each entrance to food service areas and supervisors check to see that these are being used correctly.
In my first reply I also mentioned the importance of retaining foods at correct temperatures +68c and above for hot and +5 / 7c for chilled, if food is kept outside of these peramaters for more than two hours it can also increase the risk of catching a tummy upset.
Cross contamination of foods is also another area that can cause Viruses to grow and spread.
Question for the cruise ships, what procedures and health doccuments are required for their Cater crews, do all food handlers have six monthly check up's with valid certificates ?
Hope somebody from a cruise ship can answer that one for me.
If you take food safety as the first priority incorporating personal hygiene you should see no such large numbers, implictcated with the Viruses.
Another thought crossed my mind why does it have a regular occurence with two companies and often on ships sailing out of Portsmouth / Southampton?

Spence.

ddraigmor
6th January 2010, 11:31
Sanitising? That Nick Balls was one of many Officers that had us disinfecting the shower heads once a fortnight (Legionaires Disease).

Alleyways were polished and stripped once a month to the bare deck. Oh he was one for shipshape and Bristol Fashion! :sweat:

Inn all seriousness, it was your home. Pride in the ship showed a lot of what the crew were like.(Thumb)

Jonty

Pompeyfan
6th January 2010, 15:18
I have spoken about this on SN sister site the Cruise Forum regarding norovirus aboard Boudicca, and on this site before, so will repeat some of what I said and hopefully answer a few questions asked by Old Janner. As for too soon a turn around as Bobbert says in starting this thread, I do not think so as I will try to explain.

Outbreaks of various forms of gastroenteritis were just as rife when I worked for P&O back in the 1970s on both Canberra and Arcadia as they are today. Anybody who think that norovirus is new is completely wrong. It was named after the original strain was found in Norwalk Ohio in 1968 later to become known as norovirus. In short, it is a group of virues of which there are other viral type of gastroenteritis as well as bacteria types causing exactly the same thing, vomiting and diarrhoea. If you read the newspapers cruise ships are the worst hit. But the reality is that these groups of viral gastroenteritis call them whatever you like are as common as the common cold, but far harder to pass on than the common cold, the latter being airborne. However, if you read the newspapers noroviris etc is worse than the bubonic plague getting people into almost hysteric levels deep cleaning, fumigating. I have never read such scare mongering rubbish over something so trivial. I was handling some of the most deadly pathogens known to man in my pathology job often without knowing it at first, and still here to tell the tale.

I think this hysteria surrounds the fact that norovirus for example is highly contagious, but simple hygiene and vigilance will keep it at bay. It is spread through contaminated food and water or by contact with infected people or touching the same things they have touched, then putting your hand in your mouth. But you will not get it if you touch the same thing then wash your hands. Ordinary soap kills this virus. If this virus was so easy to catch as some people believe, I would have been dead years ago handling far worse often with bare hands at first or masked up, often having a coffee and fag in between (Jester)

It must also be understood that these stomach virus cannot live for long outside the body, but I will come back to this in a moment.

Before I comment further on the present, let me explain how we handled it in the past in the medical department aboard Canberra and Arcadia.

On Canberra, we was still a liner cruising in between ‘line voyages’. We were getting exactly the same types of viral and bacteria gastroenteritis and ALWAYS traced it back to crew working in the galley, never passengers. Also in those days we were far better equipped in the medical department as well as a bigger medical team. I for example had a Crew & Isolation Hospital that I was in charge of. This was in addition to the passenger hospital. Crew found with a stomach problem was admitted to my hospital, and indeed anybody that needed to be isolated. We had outbreaks on every ‘line voyage’ and every cruise in between ‘line voyages’. There was not the media coverage then, so was kept pretty quiet. We always traced the source, and being a bigger medical team than today along with the facilities, we kept a better check on crew and hygiene. One of us checked the galley every day, wandering around looking for anything from crew hygiene to food handling and storage etc. We also had daily crew surgery. In those days outbreaks was traced to food in some way from those handling it, to the food itself. I do not see why that should have changed.

Today, the full blame is put on passengers. Fred Olsen has said exactly this if you read the posts in the Cruise Forum after three outbreaks on Boudicca on three different cruises all from Portsmouth, the ship cleaned three times at turn around, yet the same problem on each cruise. This tells me what I have always maintained that just as in my day, this outbreak at least is crew related.

If it were an infected passenger passing it onto all others as cruise companies maintain, this is how you would catch it.

1. If in the buffet restaurant and an infected passenger touched a sandwich or something that you picked up afterwards you may catch it if they had not washed their hands. I for example always chose something furthest away and not disturbed by others when helping yourself. However, at the door of the restaurant is usually a steward with gel for every passenger. That alone will kill the virus on your hand. The same with using the same butter or cheese knives as others who may not have washed their hands. This applies to all eating or cooking utensils when a person is a carrier.

2. Even if passengers infected have touched something having gone to the loo etc and not washed their hands, you will not catch unless you put your hand in your mouth. And if you wash your hands first, it will be gone anyway. And as I say, this virus does not live for long outside of the body. The length of time it can survive depends on the environment but it should be no more than a few days in normal circumstances. For example, by the third cruise of Boudicca, the virus that caused the first outbreak would not have survived outside of the human body depending again on environment if the ship was not cleaned at all meaning that if the bug was still on board it must have been passed on by a person, and almost certainly crew which is why before accusing passengers, cruise companies should look closer to home. But if they traced it back to a crew member like we did, would they tell the media?!.

This deep cleaning makes me laugh. All that needs to be done is wipe the surfaces all around the ship including deck railings outside and inside door handles with normal cleaning products, which is the norm anyway on turn around inside at least. And like I say, even if not cleaned, the virus will die anyway unless a person is infected, and do not wash their hands. This is a simple hygiene problem that has been thrown out of all proportion as if some dreaded plague.

And just stop to think for a while, as well as aboard cruise ships, do you know who has handled the food you buy in supermarkets etc, food that is not cooked that you eat straight away?. Somebody who handled that cold ham that you made a sandwich with, or ready made sandwiches or could be an infected kitchen of a restaurant, infected cook, or pub, hospital or whatever. Every day we eat something and have no idea who prepared it, how hygienic the kitchen was, the food or anything. We just have to trust others. Yet cruise ships are the favourite of the media to blame, and cruise companies put the full blame on passengers. And when you go on cruise you have to fill out a form to say you have not got the dreaded lurgi. It is quite absurd. We will be filling in forms next when we board a bus or train?!.

As for your 10 questions Old Janner in post #2, the answer during my day at least is basically yes to all ten, we in my department as a team kept an eye on all of that as best as we could with help of course from other departments involved. Much of this was of course a must when visiting the USA who had strict regulations we had to pass. I speak to the medical department on current cruise ships but they do not seem so well organised as were, not so many of them, and no crew or isolation hospitals. Passengers are kept in cabins, but not supervised so can wander around if they want to. Like their company bosses, current medical crew blame passengers as carriers, not crew saying their system is perfect food the lot, could not possibly be coming from the ship. I just smile wondering what planet they are living on, but they have to say that don’t they?!. As for your other post Old Janner, all those handling food should be trained into handling it, and storage etc.

On the other hand however, although seemingly thinking they have it under control that crew are not carriers, and food perfect and preparations perfect when you speak to them, their infection control, cross contamination for passengers at least is first class, better than any hospital although that is what I see from the passenger accommodation when a passenger these days. I do not know what goes on behind the scenes these days regarding food handling and cross contamination but I would expect it to be a very high standard as well. But if a crew member has the bug, and says nothing, or a carrier and not showing the symptoms, nobody may know unless the crew is checked as we used to, and I have no idea how often crew is checked these days. However, from what I can see, modern cruise ships are very good at infectious control in general despite these outbreaks which compared to shore side is not even a news story, but the media seem to target cruise ships, yet it is rife shore side at present.

At the end of the day, this is a common stomach bug, also known as the winter vomiting bug. A lot of fuss over nothing, and another boring long post from me?!!. Cruise ships are unfairly targeted. But they should be honest as well, and not always blame the passengers.

David

TIM HUDSON
6th January 2010, 18:00
As you say Spence. I was 40 years at sea and do not remember suffering from stomach problems a great deal. I do remember suffering from dysentry while at anchor in Bombay harbour (1 month waiting for a berth) this after a meal ashore thanks to ship's agent in our previous port, Bhavnagar. Crews and Officers from all over the world in my career but somehow spared serious tummy trots apart from little bursts of "east african quick step" / "delhi belly". Fridges were not perfect storage places in days of yor, especially when sailing in places like Persian Gulf in summertime. Cooks were frequently in trouble for not using old stock before new, consequently the age of food being served was hittie missie (and how many times had it defrosted !).
Survived it all until retirement and so have quite a few of my mates. ! Cannot ever remember anyone being hospitalised for food poisoning or the like.

Pompeyfan
6th January 2010, 18:25
Some of the stomach bug outbreaks was of course due to bacteria, not virus. This we due as has been mentioned to poor food handling and storage etc. We had one chef aboard Arcadia that we called Re Heat ??. I will not mention his name in case he is still around?!. Also, when cruising in between 'line voyages' we always advised people we knew not to take the last cruise of the season because were were using up food before re-stocking for the 'line voyage'. That was very well known amongst the crew and we in the medical department.

David

deckboypeggy
6th January 2010, 19:16
FASANATING reading it will put all non sea going people off taking any type of cruise,however they will not be on this sie.

When i was a deck boy [peggy] for 9 months on BLUE FUNNEL,one of our main task was collecting the meals from the galley and put them in some sort of stacking order in a cabnet type, hot plate for the crew to eat ,you can imagine if she was rolling around a bit what state the plates were in with the food on and off. i do not ever remember anyone being ill, and when some A.B.would send you back for more ,it was time to take verbal abuse,you could never get your own back on the chief cook,as he seldom used the P.O mess,we could not drop his dinner ,and wipe it and put it back on the plate as we did to the bosun [and chippy] as we all know who ran the ship and also ruled it ,it was the man with the big pointie hat not the master.what about the night meal ,cold meat or salad left out for the night gangway man
or bacon and eggs, left on the mees table [no fridge] all the lads coming back aboard from a night on the pop and messing with the girls they would all take a bit of the food from the tray,maybe put it back, after trying it , no one was ever ill.. not to my recall, i can only talk about the ships i was on.

Pompeyfan
6th January 2010, 20:02
FASANATING reading it will put all non sea going people off taking any type of cruise,however they will not be on this sie.

When i was a deck boy [peggy] for 9 months on BLUE FUNNEL,one of our main task was collecting the meals from the galley and put them in some sort of stacking order in a cabnet type, hot plate for the crew to eat ,you can imagine if she was rolling around a bit what state the plates were in with the food on and off. i do not ever remember anyone being ill, and when some A.B.would send you back for more ,it was time to take verbal abuse,you could never get your own back on the chief cook,as he seldom used the P.O mess,we could not drop his dinner ,and wipe it and put it back on the plate as we did to the bosun [and chippy] as we all know who ran the ship and also ruled it ,it was the man with the big pointie hat not the master.what about the night meal ,cold meat or salad left out for the night gangway man
or bacon and eggs, left on the mees table [no fridge] all the lads coming back aboard from a night on the pop and messing with the girls they would all take a bit of the food from the tray,maybe put it back, after trying it , no one was ever ill.. not to my recall, i can only talk about the ships i was on.

Great post deckboypeggy, I fell around laughing because what you say brought back many memories and would have been so common, and nobody going down with anything. Poor bloody bosun and chippy, but they would have never known (Jester)

I come over really stern and dedicated to my job in my above post making sure everything was in order. But I have, I am sorry to say, overlooked the odd spud(more than the odd in fact) or whatever hitting the deck only to be picked up and put back especially when the ship rolling badly in the mad scramble at meal times 'Wingers' trying to out do each other air blue calling the bloods every name under the sun waiting for their meal not knowing the mayhem that was going on?!. I could say very little when meal times in full swing because it would have caused even bigger problems with each sitting so close together. So I had little choice but let it flow with the odd word in a few ears only to get than the odd word back (EEK)

Yes, I bet some people will be put off going on a cruise, but no different than anywhere restaurant shore side not knowing what goes on. I always made a habit when going on a cruise not to upset the waiter(Winger)by complaining about something, or rejecting the wine. Not a good idea [=P]

David

Trader
6th January 2010, 23:10
Like deckboypeggy I was a peggy with Blue Funnel and can vouch for everything that he says. I was there for four years 1952/56 before moving on. I was deck boy on the Bellerophon built in 1950 so she was only two years old when I joined her.

The mess room was alive with cockroaches. When we put the mess room light on during the night you could see them scatter. Cold meat and bread and butter were just left on the table as there were no cupboards or fridges to put them in. The ship was on the Far East run so you can imagine the heat, no air con.

As far as I can remember no one ever went down with any thing. Maybe our immune systems were stronger in those days.

Alec.

Pompeyfan
6th January 2010, 23:29
Like deckboypeggy I was a peggy with Blue Funnel and can vouch for everything that he says. I was there for four years 1952/56 before moving on. I was deck boy on the Bellerophon built in 1950 so she was only two years old when I joined her.

The mess room was alive with cockroaches. When we put the mess room light on during the night you could see them scatter. Cold meat and bread and butter were just left on the table as there were no cupboards or fridges to put them in. The ship was on the Far East run so you can imagine the heat, no air con.

As far as I can remember no one ever went down with any thing. Maybe our immune systems were stronger in those days.

Alec.

Alec

You have hit the nail on the head, your immune systems would have been stronger. This is one of the problems, we are too sterile today which is why so many people are picking up bugs left right and centre.

I nursed people at sea as well as on land with just about every bug going, and did not catch any. In my pathology job I was dealing with some of the most dangerous pathogens there was, sometimes with bare hands before we knew what it was often having a sandwich cup of coffee and a fag while waiting to find out. I should have been dead years ago (LOL)

David

Old Janner
7th January 2010, 07:09
Dave,
Thanks for your reply, it fall's in with my conclusion that it's not the passenger, as you say it's closer to home in the Catering staff, also lack of food safety control and persons, cutting costs, encouraging "Re Heats" etc.

I agree the Media once they get these snippets of information do blow it up, but where there is smoke there is fire!

Do UK Port Healths take an Interest in Checking Catering crew health and Vaccination certificates ?

Third world staff have a higher level of Staphlacocci than Eurpean, if it gets to the Staphlacocci St Aureus, then it is a more serious situation, but who checks that a memember of staff with the named two are treated and re tested to see if the complaint has been cleared up.

I am sure that Crew health costs and vaccinations are also on the low side of the Cruise line budget.

Dave perhaps you can tell me what is the requirement for health certificates for a food handler on a Cruise Ship and the frequency for health checks.

Spence.

R396040
7th January 2010, 10:35
Cleaning ship
When I first went to sea in catering we all had morning scrub out and it was literally that . Down on your hands and knees wth bucket and hand scrubbing brush and quite often the decks in working alleyways etc were wooden. It was hard graft and played hell with the knee. None of that mopping out then, stirring the muck back round. R396040

Jim Brady
7th January 2010, 17:26
Hi R396040,how right you are,you would never see a mop and bucket on a ship.Down on your old "Chips and Peas" with the scrubbing brush and the hard lump of brown soap.Talking about brown soap thats the only thing that I remember for all purpose.Galley and Pantry would have a tin can with holes punched into it and a wire handle to hang over the tap.Cut soap up into bits put into can,hang onto hot tap run hot water through,that was your washing up liquid.This was also used for the scrub down in the pantry and galley.
I sailed on some big passenger ships and I never came across anybody coming down with "tummie bugs.I dont ever recall any medical staff hanging about the kitchen or any anti bacteria type sprays being used,all I recall was the brown soap and a liquid carbolic.The kitchen was given two good scrub downs a day,after breakfast and after the evening dinner.All hands turned to on this,lots of buckets of boiling soapy water thrown down a good scrubbing with deck brushes,hosed down and squeegied off.When on the Western Ocean run they held what was called "Galley Sports Day" in Montreal,this was a day spent on a deep clean.This was repeated back in Liverpool.
I wonder if this business of 24Hr food is the problem on the cruise ships,
When I did the Medi cruises on the Empress of Britain I'm sure that after the evening dinner (most probably finished 9PM) that was the finish of the food for the day.
Regars Jim B

Pompeyfan
7th January 2010, 18:13
Dave,
Thanks for your reply, it fall's in with my conclusion that it's not the passenger, as you say it's closer to home in the Catering staff, also lack of food safety control and persons, cutting costs, encouraging "Re Heats" etc.

I agree the Media once they get these snippets of information do blow it up, but where there is smoke there is fire!

Do UK Port Healths take an Interest in Checking Catering crew health and Vaccination certificates ?

Third world staff have a higher level of Staphlacocci than Eurpean, if it gets to the Staphlacocci St Aureus, then it is a more serious situation, but who checks that a memember of staff with the named two are treated and re tested to see if the complaint has been cleared up.

I am sure that Crew health costs and vaccinations are also on the low side of the Cruise line budget.

Dave perhaps you can tell me what is the requirement for health certificates for a food handler on a Cruise Ship and the frequency for health checks.

Spence.

Spence

I don't know what the requirements are for health certificates for food handlers on cruise ships these days. It is 35 years since I left the sea, but oddly enough, these bugs are exactly the same, and possibly spread the same way as my day, and cleaning the same.

I do not know the frequency for health checks either nowadays, but as I will try to explain below, we kept a very close eye on the crew during my era.

We certainly worked very closely with port health both in the UK and all over the world. If I had a passenger or crew in my isolation section, port health would come aboard checking the patient and documentation before allowing us in. I would then phone the bridge to tell the captain he could proceed. When reaching the first Australian port, we would do the Australian exemptions etc which many of you would be familiar with during the 'line voyage' era. America as many of you will know had strict regulations, and still have as mentioned in the Cruise Forum.

Third world crew should be no problem regarding Staphylococcus. This is a very common group of bacteria found all over the planet, not just the third world. It causes boils and other pus forming infections, and types of food poisoning. Also of course, it is the cause of a more widely known word MRSA, which is Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This very common bug has become resistant to many antibiotics including Methicillin. Also of course is Streptococcus, another form of bacteria some harmless others causing throat infections etc. These are well known bacteria and run of the mill stuff for those of us trained as such as would be no problem being tested and treated aboard cruise ships today just as we did during my era.

Galley crew no doubt had the qualifications needed for the job just as we did in the medical department. We kept vaccinations up to date vaccinating the entire crew, and far better equipped than today as I have said before by having a Crew & Isolation Hospital which I was in charge of on P&O ships. The Baby Doc and I looked looked after the crew with help from the Welfare Leading Hand who basically looked after the welfare of all European crew working closely with me and Baby Doc. His job has long since gone, and as far as I can make out there is nobody nowadays to do what he did, or indeed do what I did, my job also long gone because there is no longer a crew and isolation hospital. However, I would have no doubt remained but in the main hospital like all male nurses aboard cruise ships. The Dispenser has also gone meaning two medical crew lost. And of course our ships were smaller, less passengers, but a bigger medical department. The Asian crew each had their own leader who looked after their welfare and like Welfy, working with me and Baby Doc. I had an Asian Ward, and European Ward. We did a daily crew surgery. The Goanese were looked after by a Chief Pantryman, and the Indian and Pakistan crew by a Chief Serang. The Chief Pantryman has also long gone.

The medical department as far as qualifications go would be no different than my day. I have always visited the hospital when I have been on cruises, and it is very much the same as my day except that we seemed to do more, treated patients until the reached their destination rather than land them. Also, I have never asked if they still vaccinate crew. And I did not ask if they patrolled the galley like we did, and keep a close eye on crew. With the help of Welfy and the grapevine, we usually kept well on top of any problems from tracing the source of tummy upsets to those who wanted to beat lumps out of each other [=P]

I personally became far more qualified than my nursing days as a member of the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene when branching into pathology which of course did not only include my pathology department, but food handling etc for those working in those trades taking certificates and diplomas etc.

Hope all this in depth stuff helps? (==D)

David

Billieboy
7th January 2010, 20:27
As an outsider, but a risk calculator with a reasonable record; I'd say that pax viruses = bean counter reductions with regard to labour for maintaining cleanliness. In addition, shore side food handling is such that M&S stores used to dump all ready made, (fresh), food not sold by 16.00, (i.e. 8 hours on the serving plank). Surely this could also be done at sea?

CAPTAIN JEREMY
25th March 2010, 16:26
So where do you start??

Health and hygiene on "mainstream" cruise lines/ships is governed by the the US Centre for Disease Control and their very comprehensive Vessel Sanitation Program. Any ship that visits the USA has to comply, and regular inspections are made. The results of the inspections are published, so that the cruising public can see for themselves what the health ratings are. The Plan covers everything from Drinking water, to food temperatures, sanitation, construction of foodhandling areas and equipment, treatment and reporting of gastro intestinal and other health issues, swimming pools, jacuzzis plus much more. It is a requirement for any cruise ship entering the US to report in advance if they have "reportable" cases of illness on board.

Of course it may be coincidental, but the ship/cruise line mentioned in the article has no planned cruises that call in the US, so there is no requirement to follow these stringent practices.

The most common outbreak that occurs on cruise ships nowadays is Norovirus, also known as stomach flu, winter vomitting bug etc. It is relatively short lived, but very debilitating and easily transimtted.

Within the food handling side, if the correct procedures are followed there are good controls to avoid any form of transmission from food handler to the food. It starts with having to purchase from approved suppliers. With in the food handling areas, everything is regularly sanitised, gloves have to be worn and there are strict guidelines for temperature control both in cooking and storing food. If any of these are breached, the food has to be dumped. Although it may vary a little, in my experience, all the food handling staff are checked before they join the ship to avoid the risk of such nasty things like hepatitis which could be passed on. Sick crew members are removed from duty until they recover. In all food pre areas there are also hand wash basins, and also hand sanitiser dispensers.

At the service end of the food operation, the precautions include "sneeze guards" on all buffet stations, gloves worn by service staff etc. Since Norovirus jumped on the cruising stage a few years ago, you will also see dispensers for hand sanitiser all over the ship, starting at the bottom of the gangway. The hand sanitisers are not there because the ship is dirty, but because the passengers are!!

Sadly, it is generally accepted that Norovirus is actually brought on board the ship by passengers. The virus is spead by moisture droplets, from coughing and sneezing. If the drops land on a surface, the virus can be transferred by contact to another passenger, and if they don't exercise proper hygiene they will also contract the disease. I have seen many many passengers who rush back on board the ship, and in an effort to avoid having to wait at the lunch buffet, go straight there without going to their cabin or washing their hands. Even in places such as India, they will return from a bus excursion and do it.

Even without an outbreak onboard the ship, nowadays it is accepted practice to sanitise almost everything in the public and cabin areas. Sananitising is generally done using a chlorox/bleach solution to kill any viral spores or bacteria. This includes all surfaces, bulkheads and handrails. If there is a heightened risk, or if there are reported cases of GI the process is stepped up.

In the case of an outbreak, to help reduce the risk of transmission, the patients are confined to their cabins. You see many press reports from passengers complaining that they were not allowed to leave their cabins when they were suffering from Norovirus, but this helps to reduce the risk of contamination of more passengers. One sneeze or cough, one vomitting or fecal incident, and many more passengers are put at risk.

So as far as deep cleaning a ship goes, particularly one that is not so big by modern standards, a day is probably sufficient, but 3 days should have been more than enough time. If, as they say, there had already been an outbreak, the sanitising routine should already have been in place, so the only difference in taking the ship out of service, is that there are no passengers on board, to further spread the disease.

Crew members do also get norovirus, but they tend to get it after the passengers start reporting symptons, because they are serving the same guests who are coughing and sneezing all over the place. Once they have it, they too are isolated to prevent it being transmitted to other crew members or passengers.

At the end of the day, I doubt that you can prevent a Norovirus outbreak if it is brought on board, but by following the correct precedures, you can contain it and manage it so that it does not have a major impact on the cruise.

Pompeyfan
26th March 2010, 04:00
Many thanks for your input Captain Jeremy. It seems you joined P&O when I was still working for them?.

Oddly enough, in those days we always traced gastroenteritis to crew both viral and bacteria. Norovirus was around then, we simply did not call it that. Dining has of course changed aboard cruise ships, more buffets etc, so far easier for passengers to infect each other. But as I have said so many times, cruise ships have very good cross infection procedures, far better than many hospitals.

These bugs although contagious are just as easy to kill as catch with good old soap and water.

David

john strange
1st May 2010, 08:04
In our days there were daily inspections, Swivel eye Lloyd of UCL comes to mind on that one. Have done galley tours on a few cruise ships nad found galley conditions to be first class, regular night gang clean from top to bottom every night. Main problem is with bloods going ashore in foreign ports and not taking sufficient precautions very often brining nasties back on board. Do not know about Europe but here in Oz all ships at point of turn around must get a health clearance from the local health authority and that means a tour of the ship to inspect all areas that may be a source of contamination, galley, stores etc.

bobw
1st May 2010, 13:36
Princess Cruises (Australia) ask on checking in at embarkation if you "have any stomach upset or had one recently". I often wonder if anybody had the courage to say they had for fear of not being allowed aboard. Seems a pointless exercise.