Cruise Company Offers Ships as Temporary Hospitals
Carnival Corporation has announced that some of their ships from Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and P&O Cruises Australia will be made available to communities for use as temporary hospitals to address the escalating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if needed.
The spread of the virus continues to add pressure to land-based healthcare facilities, including a possible shortage of hospital beds. Carnival Corporation is calling on governments and health authorities to consider using cruise ships as temporary healthcare facilities to treat non-Coronavirus patients, freeing up space in hospitals for those that do have the virus. As part of the offer, those interested will only be asked to cover the essential costs of the ship’s operations while in port.
If they are needed, cruise ships are capable of being quickly provisioned to serve as hospitals with up to 1,000 hospital rooms that can treat patients suffering from less critical conditions. Cabins can be quickly converted to install and connect remote patient monitoring devices over the ship’s high-speed network, providing cardiac, respiratory, oxygen saturation, and video monitoring capabilities. Private balconies and bathrooms, as well as isolation capabilities add to their usefulness.
Additionally, ships being used as temporary hospitals would have the ability to provide up to seven intensive care units in the onboard medical center, equipped with central cardiac monitoring, ventilators, and other key medical capabilities. If used as hospitals, the ships would be berthed at a pier near the community in need and operated by the ship’s crew, with all maritime operations, food and beverage, and cleaning services provided by crew members on the ship. Medical services would be provided by the government entity or hospital responsible for fighting the spread of COVID-19 within that community.
President Trump made remarks on the offer, saying that it came about during a conversation with Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison. "He's going to make ships available if we should need ships with lots of rooms," Trump said. He then said that they would be docked in major coastal cities that have seen some of the biggest outbreaks, like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The United States Navy is already preparing to dispatch two hospital ships, Comfort and Mercy. The East Coast-based Comfort will go to New York City, and the destination of Mercy, which is based in San Diego, has not yet been shared.