Seven cruise ships have been requisitioned to support Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, as "water hotels" for medical teams from all over the country, according to the Ministry of Transport.
The first of these cruise ships, the Blue Whale, set sail on Thursday from Taohuacun Ferry Port of Yichang, a Hubei province city on the Yangtze River, and arrived at Wuhan's Wangjiaxiang Ferry Port on Friday after a 28-hour voyage.
The luxury liner of Changjiang Overseas Cruise Travel Co Ltd, 96.5 meters in length and 16 meters in width, was built in 1995 and refurbished in 2010. With a total of 202 beds in 101 standard cabins -- each quipped with two beds, a bathroom and a balcony --the vessel is expected to provide comfortable temporary shelter for "the most beautiful travelers" from across China who are helping contain the epidemic.
Upon receiving notice from the Wuhan government, the Blue Whale's Changjiang Overseas Cruise Travel acted quickly to select qualified crew members to handle the work set out before them.
On Feb 19, 16 designated crew members from Chongqing and Wuhan rushed to Yichang. At the same time, staff members in Yichang carried out ship sanitation, equipment inspections, navigation declarations and supply preparations to ensure the ship's smooth operations.
Du Yongkui, safety director of the company's Chongqing branch, led a team to embark Blue Whale in Yichang to address ship safety, epidemic prevention and contagion control. All of the vessel's crew members are working hard to serve the soon-arriving medical workers.
The first medical team will board the Blue Whale on Tuesday.
According to the Hubei Port and Shipping Administration, the seven cruise ships will provide 1,469 beds in total for Wuhan medical teams.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Xinde Marine News.
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