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World first cruise ship piloted remotely during sea trials

Christian Fernsby ▼ | May 20, 2020
Royal Caribbean's Silversea Cruises says it is preparing to take delivery of its newest ship, Silver Origin, following a unique set of coronavirus-related challenges overcome by the shipbuilder and innovative sea trials that included world-first remote operations.
Royal Caribbean
Remotely   Royal Caribbean
The new 100-passenger ultra-luxury cruise ship was built by Dutch shipyard De Hoop, which completed construction despite setbacks brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to the rigorous protocol imposed by the Dutch health authority, RIVM, De Hoop's professionals were protected by sanitary procedures developed by the shipyard itself: they underwent daily temperature checks; enhanced cleaning procedures were established in the living quarters, the crew mess, and throughout Silver Origin; and strict social distancing measures were implemented, including a 1.5-meter separation rule and a one-way system throughout the ship.

As a result, contact circles were reduced, meetings were canceled, and fewer people were allowed in each area of the ship. Video calls replaced face-to-face conversations, as flights were canceled and contractors could no longer reach the yard. Necessary supplies were cut off: Carpeting, loose furniture and the onboard art collection were delayed in arriving, while the closure of Italy disrupted the installation of the ship's windows and galley. The stringent lockdown threatened the project's progress.

Small hurdles became giant obstacles, but still the team persevered and as the world around it came to a stop, the 130-year-old De Hoop shipyard pushed on. The shipyard fundamentally changed the way it operated to continue the project, and none of its employees caught the virus.