The Royal Caribbean Group, in partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the National Research Institute, announced the results of an independent study of aerosol particle transmission through the HVAC system on a cruise ship.
According to the Royal Caribbean Group, the study concluded that the transfer of aerosol particles between rooms via the HVAC system, both in the air and on surfaces, is “exceptionally low and undetectable”.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center spent some time understanding the pros and cons of airflow at Oasis of the Seas in July 2020 while the ship was in Miami.
The results of the study helped share the Healthy Sail Panel’s 74 detailed best practices for a healthy return to sailing, submitted in September 2020 in response to a CDC request for public comment, the Royal Caribbean Group wrote.
According to the company, this is the first study of its kind in the industry.
Royal Caribbean’s HVAC systems were “purposely designed to maximize ventilation, continuous fresh air and filtration before the pandemic,” the company said.
“These systems continuously bring sea air through one side of the ship, filtering it multiple times before it reaches cabins and public areas, and maximizing ventilation in each room for frequent air changes. The air is filtered again before being sucked from the opposite side of the ship. As a result, the existing system has already been developed to reduce the transmission of airborne diseases, ”the Royal Caribbean Group wrote in the press release.
Royal Caribbean said it “is implementing additional precautionary measures to further minimize the possibility of COVID-19 transmission on board by adjusting the settings on board to allow for maximum air changes per hour – twice as much as ASHRAE did recommended for land-based venues – and upgrade to MERV 13 filters throughout the system. “
In addition, the group has already equipped their medical facilities with an independent ventilation system and added HEPA filters for additional precautionary measures.