Leading cruise line relies on data for next level passenger safety. Viking creates onboard test laboratories to screen guests and staff daily

Viking creates onboard test laboratories to screen guests and staff daily (January 2022)The cruise industry was hit hard by COVID in the early stages of the pandemic. Sick passengers practically anchored cruise ships, everything stopped. COVID is still a major challenge.

The future of cruise liners relies on healthy passengers. Easier said than done in a pandemic world. Viking has gone all in, creating onboard test laboratories to screen guests and staff daily. Too expensive, says the competition.

Vital, says Viking. In the solution lies sensor technology from a leading Norwegian technology company.

In addition to having a COVID requirement for all guests and crew, Viking is also the first and only cruise line to have built full-scale PCR labs on board their ocean and expedition ships. All guests and crew are tested every day and the company’s medical team is able to quickly get the results. Without onboard PCR laboratories, there is no way to screen the samples and determine the results while on the move at sea.

Grounded in scientific research, the Viking Health & Safety Program was developed in partnership with an international team of medical advisors, including Raquel C. Bono, M.D., Viking’s Chief Health Officer. Dr. Bono is a board-certified trauma surgeon and retired Vice Admiral of the United States Navy Medical Corps—and most recently led Washington State’s medical and healthcare systems response to the COVID pandemic.

No room for error

Each PCR lab is state of the art, containing chemicals and equipment needed to conduct test analysis. The chemical components are kept in refrigerators and freezers and stored at correct temperatures, and this is a vital part of the safety and hygienic requirement Viking are abiding to.

“Cost of chemicals in each lab amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our technology keeps track of all refrigerators on all six vessels where there are labs. Our technology gives the crew all the real time info and overview they need to ensure chemicals are kept at the right temperatures and correct humidity”, says CEO of Raa Labs Ari Marjamaa. “This puts reliable data at the heart of passenger safety onboard Viking vessels”, Marjamaa emphasises. Raa Labs, the innovative Norwegian technology company, set up a 24/7 monitoring solution providing the crew on each vessel with dashboards to keep track. The crew will be alerted if for some reason a refrigerator starts to lose its cooling ability, or the temperature is outside required levels. If a refrigerator or freezer breaks down, the chemicals will not work as expected and the tests they perform will not be reliable.

What crew see

Raa Labs, through their digital system called RaaEdge, gathers all data from wireless sensors onboard, making it available for real time monitoring onboard and onshore. The onboard and onshore personnel have dashboards showing temperatures and humidity, including a live view of the condition of refrigerators and freezers.

For Viking, safeguarding their passengers is paramount and a necessity to be operating under the constant threat of the pandemic. The wireless sensors and the RaaEdge setup provide a cost-efficient way of ensuring transparency, compliance and mitigating actions if required.

What the future holds

Vessel steel is thick and challenging to pass through for most wireless signals. The RaaEdge infrastructure makes it possible to retrieve signals from around the vessel despite physical challenges and organise everything in the cloud, giving Viking unique access to information on what is happening on its assets in real time.

As a forward leaning actor within the cruise segment, Viking can now review additional digital use cases applying the same RaaEdge digital infrastructure at the core – looking at a broad spectrum from safety, compliance, and performance. Today the sensors measure temperature and humidity in the labs; tomorrow the technology could be used for such things as measuring fuel consumption, emissions, perform condition-based maintenance, and the list goes on. RaaEdge at the core provides an endless number of options.

(Raa Labs, Viking, Wilhelmsen)


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