Meeting with DG Grow First Counsellor on Lobby Letters Advocating Business Restart of Cruise

2020-08-05 | Beijing

On 5th August Shipbuilding Working Group vice Chair, Mr. Tiger Yong, and Working Group Coordinator, Ms Charlotte Svensson, met with Mr. Frank Schmiedel, First Counsellor, DG GROW to brief him about the lobby letters sent to Chinese authorities and on the general situation for foreign cruise operators in China. Due to vacation, DG MOVE colleague was unable to attend the meeting but internal coordination continues.

The European Commission issued in early April Guidelines on protection of health, repatriation and travel arrangements for seafarers, passengers and other persons on board ships. Mid-May the Guidelines on the progressive restoration of transport services and connectivity were issued. While the first guidelines established a chain of responsibility for the repatriation of passengers and crew, the second contained the requirement that cruise operators make arrangements for medical evacuations in advance before starting their journey in order to avoid situations where ships with affected passengers on board cannot find a port. In addition, EMSA and ECDC have published guidance for gradual and safe resumption of operations of cruise ships, Key measures of the guidance include: development of a Company and Ship Management Plan based upon a tailor-made COVID-19 risk assessment by the (cruise) company, proposing also suitable mitigation measures; development of a Management plan for each Member State/port/terminal that receives cruise ships and recommended elements on which the (cruise) company and the port/terminal receiving the ship should agree in advance, including cooperation in case of a COVID-19 outbreak on board.

For China, foreign cruise operators are yet to see such similar guidance being issued and a timeline for business restart to be promulgated. The Shipbuilding working group, in its’ lobby letters advocate first and foremost for the response and clarification from the Chinese side on who bears the responsibility for business restart in cruise, along with some other highlighted industry concerns.