On May 8, 2020 the Greek Minister of Shipping and Island Policy announced the new protocol for passengers travelling by ferry.

This protocol contains safety rules and standards for the seamless operation of coastal shipping vessels in Greece after the gradual lifting of the measures taken to curb the Covid-19 virus. That protocol was planned out by the Greek Ministry of Shipping in cooperation with EODY, Greece’s public health organization, and the Greek Ship-owners Association for Passenger Ships (SEEN).

However, those measures have caused reasonable concern to the Greek Ferry Operators as Covid-19 will apparently change the way we used to travel. According to the Ferry Operators, the operation of ferries at 50% of their capacity will cause financial suffocation to the companies and they will not be able to cope with the demand of July-August as also the number of active ferries has reduced.

Furthermore, the thermal metering of passengers and the filling of the relevant forms during the boarding will cause long delays and queues. So that action is still under discussion.

As far as the other measures taken are concerned:

  • There will be at least 1,5 meters distance in all external public areas of the ferries as well as mandatory use of a face mask inside the ship. The crew members will check passengers’ compliance with the measures within the ship. Also, all the fixed seats must be marked to let the passenger know who can sit and where not, as in the subway.
  • Conventional ferries will have a maximum passenger capacity up to 55% while on high-speed crafts that will be 50%. In the first case, the maximum number of passengers will be determined by the number of the ship’s cabins.
  • In the airplane-type seats on ferries there will be a space between the passengers and there will be a special sign for where they should sit. The cabins will accommodate one passenger per cabin or if it is a family of up to four people per cabin. The cabin must be disinfected and left empty for at least three hours before being used by another passenger.
  • Elevators will not be used. Alternatively, only 40 percent of their load capacity is allowed to be used.
  • Ships ventilation, doors and windows should be opened longer than usual, while in the case of mechanical ventilation in the event of a malfunction of the ship, the ventilation system should not be stopped at all.
  • Heating, cooling and ventilation systems must also be properly maintained and operated in accordance with the rules. Local recycling should be avoided so as not to cause particle recalculation.
  • All ferries must provide training and guidance to crew members in order for them to identify the signs and symptoms of passengers infected by the Covid-19.

Spyridon Roussos