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the new solution for air quality on cruise ships

The new solution for air quality on cruise ships

Cruise ships have taken some of the hardest hits from the COVID-19 pandemic. With COVID-19 outbreaks occurring at alarming rates on cruise ships, many infected passengers have been faced with the unenviable burden of quarantining while onboard.

Currently, there are over 300 ships in commission and making their rounds. The average cruise ship carries around 3,000 passengers, with the cruise itself lasting around 7 days. These conditions make cruise ships extremely prone to infectious disease outbreaks. 

These concerns have decimated the entire industry like a tidal wave, causing the cruise industry’s overall revenue to plummet by 143%, since the start of the pandemic.

Though COVID-19 remains an unabating threat for the once-booming industry, there are other dangers on cruise ships that aren’t as apparent.  

The Hidden dangers of cruise ships

A study conducted at John’s Hopkins University revealed startling data on the air quality of cruise ships. According to the results, the air quality on cruise ships is five times worse than that of some of the world’s most polluted cities. 

The study, though conducted surreptitiously, divulged the cruise industry’s blatant lack of oversight for providing clean air to passengers. 

Appropriately titled “An Investigation of Air Pollution on the Decks of 4 Cruise Ships,” the study shows dangerously high levels of air pollution on cruise ships. According to the study, much of the air pollution emanates from behind the smokestack at the back of the ship.

The study was conducted over the course of two years on four different Carnival cruise ships. During that time, particulate matter levels reached between 45,000 and 150,000 particles per cubic centimeter – worse than some of the world’s most polluted cities. Most of these particles exhausted into the air measured between 0.02 and 1.0 microns. 

The smaller the particles, however, the bigger the threat. Smaller particles can penetrate and interact with the cells in your body far easier than larger sized particles. Further, those who have a predisposition to cardiovascular disease or pulmonary issues suffer the greatest risks if exposed to ultrafine particles.  

How are Cruise Lines Combating the Spread of COVID-19?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, ships have been upgrading their air handling technology to contain the spread of COVID-19 and reduce outbreaks. In response to the number of outbreaks, the European Union (EU) established guidelines for cruise ships on air quality. These guidelines strongly recommend that air handling units like HVAC systems move away from recirculating air and focus on bringing in fresh air only. This can be problematic as it can cause unnecessary strain on the cruise ship’s electrical load. For some cruise ships, only drawing in fresh air might not even be an option. 

To further discredit this strategy, researchers from Purdue University contend that only drawing in fresh air actually contributes to the spread of COVID-19. This is because when ships dock, they draw in air from nearby buildings. Ultimately, this is not an airtight solution. 

Incidentally, cruise lines are now taking additional steps to ensure the air on cruise ships is contaminant free. Some cruise lines are investing in medical-grade HEPA filters, while others are looking into UV light integrations for their HVAC systems. Clearly, the
pressure to find dependable air-handling technology seems greater than ever.  

A New & Comprehensive Solution for Air Quality on Cruise Ships 

COVID-19 like air sterilization technology sterispace

Relying on HVAC systems drawing in fresh air is entirely inadequate in situations where people are in close quarters for extended periods of time. Commonly used HVAC systems can filter out particles larger than 5.0 microns. This means small viral particles like SARS-CoV-2 can easily bypass the system and disseminate into circulation, leaving only a matter of time before an outbreak occurs. Integrations such as UV light purifiers present significant drawbacks. While UV light is good for ridding surfaces of pathogens, it does not have the same effect on airborne infectious particles. 

With all this in mind, it’s time that the cruise industry explores new and innovative air handling technology. 

SteriSpace is equipped to eradicate biological contaminants and air pollutants that pose a risk to passenger safety. SteriSpace has the unique ability to recirculate sterilized air without frequent maintenance or filter replacement. 

With patented compressive heating technology, SteriSpace has all the capabilities without the disadvantages of competing air handling technologies while removing 99.9999% of airborne contaminants including bacteria, SARS-like viruses, as well as harmful environmental contaminants. Investing in military-grade technology like SteriSpace means smooth sailing all year-round. 

Schedule a call with one of our knowledgeable air sterilization specialists to learn more about how SteriSpace can transform the air quality on your cruise ship! 

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