Coral Expeditions has launched its newly developed health and safety management plan as it prepares for a return to operations, according to a plan.
The resumption plans will include a revised sailing schedule focussed on nature-based expeditions in Australia’s remote coastal wilderness, the company said.
“Not all cruising is the same. Our small Australian-flagged ships follow national safety and health protocols at all time. With these added new measures, we will further reduce passenger density, and operate at the highest and most vigilant level of safety possible” said Group General Manager, Mark Fifield. “The well-being of our guests and crew has always come first over our 35-year history”.
The SailSAFE protocols have been developed over the last six weeks in partnership with health emergency specialist, Respond Global, who have conducted full fleet inspections in Cairns and developed a purpose-designed plan around the small ship expedition experience.
These protocols, together with the 100-passenger limit for all departures, limited community interactions on shore visits, and a 100 percent domestic Australian passenger and crew mix, are designed to create a secure atmosphere for guests in the current environment, the company said.
The SailSAFE protocols focus on three key pillars:
Prevention: A robust and mandatory screening protocol for all guests, crew, and vessel prior to embarkation with a view to ensuring voyages are 100% COVID-free prior to sailing.
Mitigation: Detailed processes and thorough reinforcement of the prevention actions, with measures carried out during pre-boarding, onboard and post-cruise.
Response: A detailed plan focussed on patient care, management of passengers and thorough company and vessel protocols with shoreside and health authority support.
The plan will be supported with highly detailed Standard Operating Procedures developed for each vessel and with consideration to the various cruise profiles including the length of sailing and destination. Crew training and ship equipment fit-out are well advanced in Cairns and the SailSAFE plan has been approved by Australian states and territories tourism and health departments.
Having submitted the SailSAFE plan to all national, state and territory authorities and received confirmation of compliance, Coral said it is ready to return to operations at a time that Australia’s domestic internal borders are opened. Being an Australian flagged tourism operator, the company is not affected by Border Force closures. Sailing schedules for the short-term future will include extended explorations of the Great Barrier Reef, the remote Kimberley coastline, the coastal wilds of Tasmania’s south-west and a series of new itineraries along the rarely visited Western Australian coast.