Aquarism to Assist BV with Legionnaire Control

Monday, February 03, 2003
Classification society Bureau Veritas has strengthened its capacity to provide passenger ship operators with health and hygiene on board certification by acquiring Paris-based Aquarism, a specialist company dealing with the control of legionnaire and other viruses in water systems. Jean-Jacques Juenet, head of passenger ship services for BV, says, "Managing air and water contamination risks on board passenger ships is becoming both more vital and more difficult as ships get bigger and more complex. We have unique experience with public buildings ashore, which ship operators can draw upon. We have worked with Aquarism for some time and respect the expertise they have developed, both on the cruise ships and ferries we have already certified and on the many major public buildings they have made safe. Now their expert team will form an integral part of Bureau Veritas, and will work with our health team who have extensive experience with complex air conditioning systems. Only BV can provide this service and the backing of a group with such deep knowledge and experience of air and water-borne virus control."

Pierre-Gerard Montout, director of Aquarism, says, "Our team respect the complementary expertise of Bureau Veritas, and we are happy to join a group which is the world leader in providing such a vital service to public spaces, whether ashore or afloat." BV's Health and Hygiene onboard manual has been applied to two cruise ships and two ferries, and the team are currently working on the fleet of a major French ferry operator, after a joint approach from both crew unions and management for the ships to be examined and certified. BV's recognition of an approved Health and Hygiene Manual will allow cruise ship and ferry operators to demonstrate that they have a rigorous policy in place to prevent contamination of, or illness from, on board domestic water and air conditioning systems. "Air and water systems within cruise ships present a great potential risk of contamination," says Juenet. "As ships get bigger, the air conditioning, sanitary hot water and recreational water systems get more complex and contamination can quickly cause a major problem for a lot of passengers and also for the crew. No-one wants an outbreak of Legionella on a big cruise ship, but it happens all too often. Our Health on Board scheme has been developed from BV's extensive experience in several hundred public buildings ashore, including large office blocks and hospitals. We have applied the air and water contamination management systems proven there to the shipboard environment. This tool brings real benefits to cruise ship operators." The Health and Sanitary Manual is developed jointly by BV and the ship's operator. An initial assessment of the ship's air and water networks identifies potential sources of contamination using the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point method. A management system is then set up to prevent contamination, and certified by BV. This scheme is unique to BV, and builds on the group's world-wide experience with certifying public buildings.

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