Princess Searches for Contractor to Disinfect Quarantined Cruise Ship

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Published Feb 24, 2020 2:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

Princess Cruises is now searching for a "best-in-class cleaning and disinfection service provider" to decontaminate the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which hosted 3,700 quarantined passengers and crew from February 5-21. Nearly 700 have tested positive since the beginning of the month and three have died. 

The solicitation calls for a cleaning company that has the capability to sanitize the vessel to stringent standards set by CDC, WHO and the Japanese government. The scope includes all public venues - shops, restaurants, fitness center, weather decks, corridors, etc. - and all cabins. All carpets, drapes and furniture must be disinfected, and all cabin textiles (and mattresses) must be discarded. 

Accidental release

Japanese officials admitted Saturday that 23 passengers from the Diamond Princess who were supposed to be re-quarantined and retested for coronavirus were accidentally released last week. They have since been relocated, officials said Monday, and three have tested negative for the virus.

Health minister Katsunobu Kato apologized for the error and said that the ministry would take steps to ensure that it would not recur. 

Local media reports indicate that Japan won't test the Japanese medical workers who dealt with the Diamond Princess if they don't show any symptoms, as the health ministry is confident about the preventative measures taken. 

However, the ministry said Monday that two more officials who had been aboard the vessel - one quarantine officer and one ministry employee - have now tested positive for the virus and have been hospitalized. The new cases bring the number of outside healthcare workers and officials infected aboard the ship to six in total. 

A small number of passengers who tested negative and were released in accordance with ministry policy have since tested positive after returning to their home country. Four out of 32 British and Irish citizens who were repatriated have now tested positive and are being transferred to specialized facilities for care, UK chief medical officer Prof. Chris Whitty said in a statement Sunday. 18 American evacuees and six Australians have also tested positive during or after their return trip to their home countries.