The cruise industry has received a vital lifeline in its bid to safely set sail once again. Several pioneering Finnish businesses and organisations have developed new, innovative safety approaches for the sector to adopt, in response to new post-pandemic measures.
These new initiatives and research projects are set to bring the industry back from the brink and ensure a safer and successful cruise experience for all.
Undertaking health and safety measures
Expectations surrounding cruises today have changed beyond all recognition in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst the safety and wellbeing of passengers and staff has always been a top priority for the industry, its recovery depends on taking health and safety measures to a new level, to drive stability and sustainability in the challenging years ahead.
Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, Finnish research organisations and companies have led the charge in responding to the industry’s call for new solutions to support its resurgence. With viable options showing what is possible, the future of the industry looks bright and secure.
Healthy Travel project
Researchers collaborated with cruise companies to find ways of improving health and safety on cruise ships
The Healthy Travel project[i] is one such initiative: researchers collaborated with cruise companies, shipyards, and subcontractors to find ways of improving health and safety on cruise ships and in terminal buildings.
Researchers in cell biology and industrial management created models to analyse passenger flows on vessels of different sizes and developed processes and procedures to minimize infection risks.
To further understand the role of breathing, coughing, and sneezing in spreading COVID-19, researchers from Tampere University, VTT Technology Research Centre of Finland, and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare created a robot head [ii] prototype as part of the AIRCO research project.
Air purification techniques
The initial aim of the robot was to support the design and planning of all kinds of indoor spaces, including ships and terminals, and to measure the effectiveness of masks, ventilation, and air filtration and purification solutions in preventing the spread of viruses.
Ensuring indoor air quality (IAQ) is also a crucial factor for minimising infections among passengers and crew.
To support the need for better air purification techniques, interior accommodation provider ALMACO partnered with Genano [iii] to provide the marine and offshore industry with advanced air decontamination technology that removes airborne impurities of all sizes, including microbes and the novel coronavirus.
Developing solutions for material flow on ships
KONE researched with several cruise line companies to develop solutions for people and material flows on ships
In addition to air quality, the flow of people and material can have a huge impact on the transmission of airborne viruses. KONE [iv], a global pioneer for marine elevators and escalators, conducted intensive research in partnership with several cruise line companies to develop new solutions for people and material flows on ships while improving health and safety on board and in the terminals.
This involved collecting data with sensors installed on ships, timing activities, and conducting interviews with passengers and crew members. In the same vein, an IoT platform from Hypercell[v] uses Bluetooth signal sensors to collect data on people volumes, dwell times, and flows in indoor and outdoor locations.
Innovation is key
Innovative approaches are the way forward for the industry to get back on its feet, but with so much at stake, these next steps are crucial to get right.
Accurate data, insight, and new techniques will play a key role in moving forward, as Timo Pakarinen, managing director for KONE’s marine business explains, “Any changes on cruise ships must be fact-based and commercially viable solutions because the investments required are so large.”
Supporting cruise industry recovery
“Collaborative research projects such as these, which have been initiated and funded by Business Finland, will continue to produce innovations and technologies to support the recovery and future viability of the cruise industry for many years to come.”
“Finland now offers leading technologies and solutions focusing on indoor air quality, passenger flows, safety protocols, and touchless solutions. The insights gained from this vital research are also contributing to the design of new cruise ships,” says Ulla Lainio, Head of Marine & Ports Global Industry Team at Business Finland.