Nippon Maru Aiming for November Cruise Start

Nippon Maru at Rishiri Island

Mitsui OSK Passenger Line is hoping to start cruising again in Japan with the Nippon Maru in November after a handful of test cruises, according to Naohiko Yamaguchi, president, in an interview with Cruise Industry News.

The company will follow recent rules released by JOPA (Japan Oceangoing Passenger Ship Association), which is supervised by the MLIT (Japan Ministry of Land Infrastructures, Transportation and Tourism).

Itineraries will be short, concentrating on Japanese coastal sailings for now with cruise lengths of one, two and three nights. Deployment includes 37 cruises through August 2021.

Ship capacity will be trimmed to between 40 and 60 percent, Yamaguchi explained, with 20 rooms set aside for isolation purposes.

All crew and staff will get coronavirus PCR tests before boarding, and for passengers, there will be strict screening and monitoring, plus social distancing regulations aboard.

In terms of ship modifications, the company has installed UV-C lights in air ducts aboard to kill germs, and the HVAC system has been modified to only bring in fresh air. There will also be testing capabilities aboard the Nippon Maru for COVID-19.

“Our resumption of operation is still subject to final agreements with the ports of departure and return as well as ports of calls,” Yamaguchi said, noting that involves plans for isolation, disembarkation and transportation of the patients.

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