Health & Safety on board Aqua Expeditions on the Mekong River
Guest’s healthy and safety is of paramount importance to Aqua Expeditions. Since we started operating on the Mekong River, we have taken extraordinary measures to protect our passengers on each and every departure of the Aqua Mekong. These initiatives as outlined below and our uncompromising commitment to safety is further augmented by local and national authorities, leading to positive results.
MALARIA STATEMENT FROM AQUA EXPEDITIONS
October 6, 2017, Singapore
In response to the recent articles in The New York Times and BBC about a new strain of drug-resistant malaria, particularly in the Mekong region, Aqua Expeditions wants to assure travelers that their guests’ safety is the company’s primary concern.
Cambodia and Vietnam are endemic zones for malaria and there is currently an outbreak. However, the spread of the disease is concentrated in the forest areas and not in rivers and surrounding communities where the Aqua Mekong travels. As always, we recommend that travelers visiting tropical zones should take personal protective measures against insect bites by using an effective insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants in the dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, and by consulting your personal physician prior to travel for recommendations of ways to protect yourself.
For more information and current updates, Aqua Expeditions also suggests the website of the Worldwide Health Organisation (WHO) (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs094/en/)
EXTERNAL SECURITY AND SAFETY MEASURES
Mekong waterway safety is a top priority for the navigation environment of vessels. To establish a safer navigable river, a program supported by Mekong Commission River (MCR) installed key operational aids to navigation and the use makes navigation possible day and night. Safety has improved significantly on the marked channels in Cambodia and Vietnam.
In 2009, Cambodia and Vietnam signed a bilateral Treaty on Waterway Transportation to improve efficiency and safety standards on the Mekong. Enhanced regulations, monitoring, coordination, and control of navigation activities contribute towards a healthier riverine environment.
• Both countries signed up to the SOLAS Convention, which automatically implies that the IALA standards should be followed. The Member States are fully responsible for maintaining very high navigation maintenance standards.
• Between the years 2006 to 2012, the MRC Navigation Program installed an Aid to Navigation system between Phnom Penh and Chhnock Trou and another between Kampong Cham and the Cambodia-Vietnam border (Aqua Mekong itineraries). It provides a full day and night system of channel markers on the busiest stretch of the Mekong River in Cambodia. The installation of this internationally recognized system of buoys, beacons and shore marks, greatly improves safety and efficiency of navigation.
• Vessels are required to carry knowledgeable Cambodian and Vietnamese pilots when cruising inland waterways. The pilots have set up way point systems GPS devices on board. This type of navigation is intended to act as a backup for operating aids to navigation system.
• Waterway Police Department (WPD) in Vietnam is responsible for ensuring the safety of water users, enforcing laws relating to river traffic, preventing accidents on vessels, banks and shores, providing search and rescue services. The WPD coordinates 24hr presence on the Mekong via constant monitoring and supervision of four designated waterway officers whom are assigned to coordinate regular patrols to handle violations of safety conditions for port, passenger and marine vessels.
INTERNAL SECURITY AND SAFETY MEASURES
AQUA MEKONG is the only vessel on the Mekong River to successfully implement the International Safety Management System Code (ISM Code) that promotes safety and reduces the risk of incidents. While cruising on AQUA MEKONG, the guests are not only satisfied with the best quality services, but also the safety measurements provided:
• The Aqua Mekong is equipped with a Closed Circuit Television system (CCTV) that covers port, starboard, aft and bow of the boat 24/hours a day. All activities onboard are monitored and recorded from the bridge to ensure safety and security. Furthermore, our marine officers carry out patrol operations throughout the night. We have the latest satellite communication equipment on the ship.
• The Bridge is equipped with as Radar, Global Position Satellite (GPS) system, communication system, emergency communication system, alarm system to provide the safest environment during river navigation.
• Management of engines and machinery deploys full back-up systems including two main engines, two generators and two steering gear pumps for redundancy and preventive purposes.
• A safety evacuation plan is displayed to instruct at the Muster Station and complete fire protection equipment is present in all areas such as extinguishers, 8 fire hose stations and emergency lighting system.
• Before every departure, the Aqua Mekong crew conducts a safety briefing and drill for passengers including vessel orientation, life jacket demonstration, and demonstration of the alarm system and position of the muster station.
• First Aid trained crew are on board every departure to address any medical needs.
• There is active and ongoing engagement of management and crew in recognizing and addressing safety issues.
• Evacuation procedure includes 4 motor rescue boats, 4 life rafts and 12 life buoys “ready to go” for any emergency response.
• Medical Emergency Protocol and First Aid are available onboard at all times.
• The Emergency response team are trained regularly to assist passengers in any emergency situation.
• Ship boat safety maintenance is conducted on a yearly basis to comply with rigorous International Safety Standard requirements.
We continue our on-going commitment to passengers and crew safety with our compliance to the International Safety Management System and waterway regulations.