Carnival Corporation announced Thursday that select cruise ships from its fleet could become floating hospitals to provide relief amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Ships from the company’s various lines could be used, including vessels from Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia, according to a news release.
“With the continued spread of COVID-19 expected to exert added pressure on land-based healthcare facilities, including a possible shortage of hospital beds, Carnival Corporation and its brands are calling on governments and health authorities to consider using cruise ships as temporary healthcare facilities to treat non-COVID-19 patients, freeing up additional space and expanding capacity in land-based hospitals to treat cases of COVID-19,” a news release said.
President Donald Trump said Thursday morning that he spoke Micky Arison, CEO of Carnival.
“He’s going to make ships available, so in addition to the big medical ships that you have coming, if we should need (cruise) ships, lots of rooms, they’ll be docked at New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco, different places."
It’s not known if Port Canaveral would be used under the proposed scenario.
Carnival said that as part of the offer, interested parties will be asked to cover only the essential costs of the ship’s operations while in port.
If needed, the ships could be quickly converted into temporary hospitals to treat non-COVID-19 patients, and would have the ability to provide up to seven intensive care units in the ship’s medical center, all equipped with central cardiac monitoring, ventilators and other key medical devices and capabilities, according to company officials.
“Similar to land-based health facilities, cruise ships can also house multiple medical functions in disparate locations by using different decks on the ship to separate each required medical area,” a news release said.
The temporary hospital cruise 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, according to the company. Medical services would be provided by the government entity or hospital responsible for fighting the spread of COVID-19 within that community.