Baleària Ferries Seek First Covid-19 Certification From BV

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Baleària Group is working with Bureau Veritas to become the first shipping company to achieve certification that its ships and terminals are implementing safety and cleaning procedures to protect against Covid-19.  The operator of passenger and cargo ro-ro ferries between the Spanish mainland and the Balearic Islands expects to be certified in early June, and it will be renewed every six months. The program developed by Bureau Veritas, a leader in testing, inspection, and certification services, will examine the effectiveness of Baleària’s efforts to disinfect surfaces to deal with any possible presence of Covid-19.  It will also ensure the use of appropriate social distancing, including capacity reduction, staggering arrivals and departures, the handling of personal protective equipment, and measures to deal with an infection or suspected cases. Initially, samples will be taken from 12 of Baleària’s ships and two ferry terminals, in Dénia and Valencia, with laboratory analysis.  The process will be repeated each month on board two of the ships and at one ferry terminal.  The certificate will also be expanded to include four additional ferries expected to enter service when the current restrictions on passenger travel are lifted.   Baleària aims to obtain the Global Safe Site Covid-19 badge at the highest level (Excellence) from Bureau Veritas. According to Baleària, this certificate will demonstrate that it is going beyond the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, conducting complete, reinforced procedures in terms of safety and cleaning. “At Baleària we are working to increase the inherent level of safety of this means of transport, and the Bureau Veritas certification will provide a guarantee that our ships are the most trustworthy means of travel,” said Baleària president, Adolfo Utor. During the public health emergency, Baleària has maintained service on 12 ferries transporting cargo as well as residents of the islands and other passengers who are authorized to travel.  In addition to increased cleaning and disinfection, crew members who are in contact with passengers are wearing masks as well as gloves in the kitchen areas. Crowding is avoided by spacing out embarkation, disembarkation, and areas where passengers might congregate. Baleària is also providing passengers with alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and since May 4, 2020, all passengers have been required to wear a mask when traveling. In 2019, Baleària carried nearly 4.5 million passengers and more than 6 million meters of cargo. The company has a total fleet of 32 ships for passenger and freight transport between the Balearic Islands and the Spanish mainland and crossing the Strait of Gibraltar. In addition to Baleària, other consumer-oriented businesses, including Meliá Hotels International and shopping center owner and operator Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, have also retained Bureau Veritas to certify practices to ensure a safe return to business.