HAL calls low sanitation grade for Veendam 'an aberration'

By Tom Stieghorst

The Holland America Line ship Veendam received an unsatisfactory grade in its public health inspection in August, getting a score of 77 on a 100-point scale. Scores from 86 to 100 are satisfactory.

It was the first time the ship received an unsatisfactory score in 33 inspections dating back to 1996.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control conducts semiannual inspections of all passenger ships calling in U.S ports. Inspectors from the Vessel Sanitation Program cataloged dozens of violations in their Aug. 19 report.

Many of the problems occurred in the ship's galley. For example, the report found a crew member accessing a deck head panel to perform maintenance while on the top shelf of a clean storage rack directly adjacent to and above clean items.

"Staff removed the clean items from the rack only when instructed to by the inspector," the report says.

A spokesman for Holland America Line said the low score was highly unusual and an aberration. "We are confident that this will not occur again," he said.

He said all the violations in the report have been addressed and corrected.

Typically, ships that receive an unsatisfactory grade are re-inspected to be sure the violations have been addressed. 

Holland America Line said it has filed a corrective-action report, but the information has not yet been posted by the CDC.
Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly. 

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