As you know, we recently announced our new health and safety program called Beyond Ordinary Care, a multi-layered program to create a safer environment aboard our ships. Read more about the steps we are taking on our Health & Safety page.
Every ship will have HEPA filters with UV-C light installed in its HVAC system before returning to operation. Electrostatic sprayers are being purchased to sanitize surfaces on the ships. This is another multi-million dollar investment in the Windstar fleet and positions us to be competitive (and safer) in a COVID environment.
Our colleague Treavor Johnson, public health manager, provided us with more information on how these two particular systems work to keep the ships free from illness causing microorganisms.
HEPA filters with UV-C light: The upgrades to the HVAC systems on board the ships will include two different components. The first is the installation of HEPA filters. These filters are designed to catch all particles in the air that are 0.3 microns, or larger, in size. This level of filtration will be effective in filtering out bacteria, mold, dust, allergens, and some viruses. HVAC filtration alone is a scientifically proven method of removing many illness and allergy causing components within the air supply by filtering out 99.7% of particulates 0.3 microns or larger in size.
The second component to be added to the HVAC systems are UV-C lights. UV-C light has been scientifically proven to be an effective disinfecting and sanitizing agent against microorganisms that may be present within the air supply. UV-C technology has been used for many years in hospitals and operating rooms as a method of sanitizing.
UV-C light has been proven to be effective at killing many different types of bacteria and viruses. This component, in conjunction with the HEPA filtration, will allow for a high level of disinfection of the air supply within our HVAC system. UV-C has been shown to kill viruses such as norovirus and coronavirus.
In addition to disinfecting the circulating air, the installation of these two components will drastically reduce the amount of microorganisms within the HVAC system. This, in turn, will reduce the amount of biofilm formation within the HVAC system components, which is a key factor in preventing Legionella growth and possible infection.
Illustration showing UV-C light installed in a typical air filtration system.
EvaClean Electrostatic Sprayer and PurTab Disinfectant: A key component to illness prevention onboard is the proper sanitation of guest cabins, crew cabins, and public areas. The EvaClean electrostatic sprayer with PurTab Disinfectant is a product that will assist in increasing the effectiveness of our current onboard sanitation procedures and add a layer of protection for all onboard guests and crew.
The EvaClean Protexus electrostatic sprayer uses a technology that adds a magnetic charge to the sanitizer solution. As the charged sanitizer is sprayed into a room, the solution is attracted to surfaces and wraps around whatever is being sanitized providing a 360° covering of the surface or object. This enhanced coverage provides a more thorough and effective method of sanitizing than a standard spray bottle or wiping cloth.
PurTab disinfectant is an EPA registered sanitizer and is considered to be “hospital grade.” The solution can be created at a wide range of concentrations depending on its intended use. The chemical is a chlorine based sanitizer and has been found to be effective at killing a wide range of microorganisms, including Norovirus and coronavirus.
The combination of the EvaClean Protexus electrostatic sprayer and PurTab disinfectant will give our onboard staff a more efficient and effective method for surface sanitation. The electrostatic design will ensure total coverage of surfaces, without having to rely solely on ensuring crew cover all parts of a surface with sanitizer from a standard spray bottle or wiping cloth. This will provide a more confident level of sanitation within all areas of the ship.
Because the dilution factor is readily adjustable, and the chemical is chlorine based, the Protexus electrostatic sprayer can also be used to sanitize food service areas.