(February 2020) Maritime know-how in the fight against COVID-19


The novel coronavirus SARs-COV-2 poses major challenges for the shipping industry, particularly the cruise shipping industry. LOEWE MARINE, Bremen, is playing its part in the effort to master these challenges with a combination of hard-won experience and high tech.


The shipping industry has come under added scrutiny ever since the world learned of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease COVID-19. The cruise shipping industry, in particular, faces numerous challenges. Cases of the disease have been suspected aboard several cruise liners and so far confirmed aboard two, which have since been placed in quarantine.


RKI recommends cleaning and disinfection protocols for infection prevention and control


As per recommendations issued by Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and other government disease control and prevention agencies around the world, the maritime industry needs to institute cleaning and disinfection protocols analogous to those used to prevent and control the spread SARS and MERS. According to these agencies, the current data on the virus and its modes of transmission indicate similarities with historic outbreaks of influenza.


Portfolio of highly effective disinfection solutions


The Biosecurity division of LOEWE MARINE (www.loewe-biosecurity.com) – a Bremen, Germany-based maritime industry company headed by naval architect Carsten Löhmer – has been involved in offshore infection prevention and control for a number of years, providing solutions in many areas, including norovirus prevention and containment. As such, it has built up a storehouse of know-how in maritime disinfection that has never been more needed by shipping companies and shipowners than it is right now. The company’s know-how is complemented by its global service and logistics network and its extensive portfolio of highly effective disinfection solutions. In short, LOEWE MARINE is ready for the fight against COVID-19.


New maritime disinfection strategy


LOEWE MARINE’s Biosecurity division is dedicated to the safety and wellbeing of both passengers and crew. By marshalling the best available resources, its global networks and a wealth of experience garnered from successful maritime projects in Europe and Asia, the LOEWE MARINE team is able to find the best disinfection solution for any situation – no matter how soon or where in the world it is required.“As part of two ongoing pilot projects, we are currently working with our Scandinavian partners Sterisafe and Hans Buch to fine-tune a new maritime disinfection strategy that has already proven its worth against multi-resistant pathogens, enveloped and non-enveloped viruses and even spores and fungi,” explained CEO Carsten Löhmer. “Thanks to Hans Buch, we have access to Steri-7, a highly effective product for conventional hand and surface disinfection that is alcohol-free and therefore faster and easier to handle and transport. And thanks to Sterisafe, we have access to Sterisafe-Pro, an autonomous whole-room disinfection robot system that opens up completely new possibilities in cabin disinfection.”


Access to disinfection robots


The technology developed by Sterisafe means that LOEWE MARINE has access to the world’s only disinfection robot capable of autonomously eliminating all bacteria and viruses on all surfaces, no matter how hard to reach, inside closed rooms. The autonomous disinfection robot protects the health of the people operating it and is extremely effective – key benefits, given the current COVID-19 crisis. “All the Sterisafe robot needs in order to do its job is water and electricity. The operator simply places the robot inside the room or cabin to be disinfected, seals the door and walks away,” Löhmer explained. “The robot then gets to work by producing ozone, which neutralizes all viruses and bacteria present in the room. Once done, it converts the ozone back into oxygen, at which point it also filters all unwanted particles and nano-particles out of the air. Once the Sterisafe robot has finished its cycle, all surfaces in the room or cabin, no matter how hard to reach, are completely free of viruses and bacteria.”


Worldwide use


The robot’s efficacy as an airborne disinfection system has been tested following the relevant standard, NF T 72 281, and confirmed by independent laboratories, including the Danish Technological Institute and the Dr. Brill + Partner GmbH Institute for Hygiene and Microbiology in Hamburg, Germany. The Sterisafe robot has also proven itself effective in various real-life applications worldwide, including at a German university hospital. LOEWE MARINE, whose comprehensive industry expertise has made it a linchpin of a global network, is currently in contact with several cruise shipping companies worldwide. “In light of recent events in the cruise shipping industry, it is vital that action be taken as soon as possible to restore cruise liner safety,” Löhmer said. “The key is to have the right disinfection strategy. Thanks to our network of contacts, we have the most effective tools and methods at our disposal, not to mention the support of smoothly functioning logistics systems. Having said that, the first – and most important – step towards finding the most effective solution is to conduct a precise analysis of the situation at hand while bringing to bear in-depth knowledge of maritime requirements.”