A 21-page protocol containing safety rules for the seamless operation of coastal cruise ships (passenger ferries) in Greece after the gradual lifting of the measures to curb the COVID-19 was made public. Among Greece's largest ferry companies are MINOAN LINES, HELLENIC SEAWAYS, BLUE STAR FERRIES, SUPERFAST FERRIES.
The protocol was developed by the Greek Maritime Ministry via the cooperation with Greece’s public health organization EODY, and the Greek Shipowners Association for Passenger Ships. It has been forwarded to coastal shipping companies for the submission of proposals.
Restrictions for travel by ferry and high-speed vessels to the Greek islands are still in place. The full lifting of restrictions may possibly take place on June 1, 2020.
According to the protocol, when ship travel in Greece resumes, RoPax ferries will be allowed to carry 55% of their maximum passenger capacity. Ferries without cruise staterooms will be allowed to fill 50% of their original capacity.
For high-speed ferries (catamaran ships), the max number of passengers allowed in Economy and First-Class seats will be equal to 50% of what Greece's current legislation allows.
Pre-boarding screening measures will be applied. Passengers will be given health questionnaires to fill out. Thermal screening is recommended for travellers on ships deployed on routes of 3+ hours. When boarding, all passengers must wear face masks as well as maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 metres between one another.
Regarding seat allocation for aircraft-type seats (Seating Lounge), special markings will indicate where passengers are allowed to sit and where not.
Only 1 passenger will be allowed per cabin or up to 4 passengers per family. All staterooms should be naturally ventilated where possible and their doors must be left open for at least three hours after cleaning and disinfection before new passengers arrive.
Ferry crews must advise passengers to avoid unnecessary movement while onboard. All vessels will have special markings that indicate where seating indoors/outdoors is allowed in order for travellers to maintain the proper distance (1.5 m) from one another.
All gathering points - reception areas, restaurants, canteens, shops, toilets - must have special floor markings for travellers to maintain the proper distance (1.5 m) from one another.
The installation of a protective divider in the areas of reception, restaurants, and canteens is recommended.
It is recommended for elevators not to be used. In case their use is deemed necessary, only 40% of their load capacity is allowed to be used.
All vessels must have a plan for the prevention and treatment of Coronavirus cases that may arise at sea. All coastal ships must provide training and guidance to the crew in order for them to identify the Coronavirus symptoms. The crew that may produce symptoms compatible with those of Coronavirus should immediately leave their job post.
The maximum number of passengers allowed on Greek ferries will be discussed by authorities in early-June, and also depends on the pandemic's course in Greece.