Cruise Ship Green Zones

Image left by Peter H from Pixabay. Image right by Kai Sender from Pixabay
10-year charts of Carnival Corp, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, respectively one, two, and three in the cruise market.

Ships are valuable in an emergency.

After Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. government chartered three of Carnival Cruise Line’s ships for six months to help provide shelter for as many as 7,000 people, mostly displaced city workers. In March, Carnival Corp. offered ships, with a total of 254,000 beds, to treat non-COVID-19 patients, freeing up land-based hospitals to focus on victims of the virus. American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines have asked the Federal Government to explore ways in which their six ships could house quarantined military personnel in Seattle, San Diego, St. Louis, New Orleans, Norfolk and Miami.

Green zones are safe zones.

A use for these empty ships could be educational and corporate green zones. These would be temporary (3-month, 6-month or year-long) port-based live/work quarters. To keep the green zone green, ship passengers would only be admitted to the green zone after a strict quarantine and testing.

This comment prompted snickers on twitter (“it could double-function as a petri dish!”) but with proper protocols in place, green zone ships will be safer than land.

Hospitals aren’t the only way to serve the public.

The cruise ships could be used to train the workforce for the new economy. Friday’s job report has been called the worst in American history and is expected to worsen in May and June. Almost 40% of Americans in households making less than $40,000 a year lost a job in March. Many of these jobs will never recover. All predictions forecast a shift to a digital economy — this is now happening faster than we thought. The world will need less service industry jobs but more programmers, security specialists, network engineers, data scientists, game developers, etc.

There will be another crisis.

We have to plan on it being worse. Everyone talks about what we will have learned from this experience. But no clear protocol has emerged from the world’s hodgepodge response — certainly not one that can be trusted to be accepted and properly enacted at the global and (every) local level. Corporate and educational green zones in the safe isolation of cruise ships will be one way to keep people safe and the economy moving forward when life on land comes to another halt.

Here’s an idea about how it could work.

Lessee will rent a hotel in port city and two ships at port at a reduced fee that covers basic operating expenses. The cruise corp and the lessee will include in contract provisions to ensure CDC requirements are met.

It’s one piece of the puzzle.

We need many solutions for supply chains, food production, water filtration, health-tracking, sanitation, and maintenance of other infrastructure. We know that we cannot rely on haphazardly-executed top-down yet-tbd plans. We need ideas and fast action for cooperative preparation so that we can have protocols in place to confidently meet the next challenge. As the world shifts quickly, we need to whatever we can do to keep options open for people to enter the brightest of possible futures.



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