Insider’s story:During my time onboard ships, I have gathered unique experience, trained by ships’ management on how to evade, deceive and trick USPH personnel, while conducting sanitation inspection onboard. Not very honest, legal or transparent task, but it helped paying my bills. I really had no choice if I wanted to keep my job.The range of methods I had at my disposal to deceive USPH was huge. Most of those methods are so simple that it makes you wonder just how serious USPH authorities are in their task to scale ships’ sanitation practices on scale of 100. To be honest, those methods strike me as comical. Deep inside, I always knew that USPH never had any serious intentions to push for what every innocent passenger deserves – right for a sickness free cruise. There is just too much politics and too much money involved. This might be a good time to reveal just few “secrets” to you, but know that they are secrets only to USPH, and to cruise industry – it is common knowledge. The reason why nobody speaks of them is always the same – sailors just want to keep their job and pay the bills. They all know that these cunning East European born practices have been around since the beginning of luxury cruising. Their belief in food safety practices improvement is at the bottom of their priority list, far behind issues like overworking and underpaying.But let’s start.80% of all galley equipment is being stored in Accommodation area, far away from seemingly not very interested eyes of USPH inspectors. With inspections being fairly predictable, roughly every 6 months, as the time comes close, galley personnel drags majority of everyday utensils to their cabins and in nearby corridors. What stays in galley pot-wash areas are huge items that occupy space on shelves and give impressions of fullness. How simple, and how ingenious.It is interesting that inspectors never ask just where are the wide bacon trays on which galley cooks are baking sheets of bacon for breakfast? After the cooks are done with them, they pile them in one heavy metal block, that can be moved around only with the help of trolley. Take it from me, as I had the opportunity to clean them in the beginning of my sea career – you need at least 10 minutes to completely wash, rinse and sanitize just one of them. Now how about 200 of them? And what about all that grease flying all over the pot-wash while cleaning them? Well, now you understand why is pot-wash always clear as crystal. Lets go further. We’re talking about pot-wash. According to USPH, every pot-wash location should have three cleaners. One for wash, one for rinse and one for sanitizing equipment. Taking in consideration the amount of pots and pans necessary for the cooking operation on a cruise ship with 4000-5000 passengers – it is only reasonable. That is the best way to avoid cross-contamination. But did you know that in order to ensure that, every cruise ship should employ at least 5 more cleaners.It will never in the wildest dream happen, unless serious pressure is made on Cruise Lines.What I have
observes throughout my career is that Cruise Line management in general, will rather fire a person with solution to the problem, than spent 50 dollars and solve the problem. It makes you wonder, looking at the USPH inspectors, while checking chemical lockers in pot-wash areas, are they not interested in nearby work schedule that clearly places only one worker in location for the most of the time?It goes so far that supervisors are moving cleaners from one pot-wash to another, following the route of inspectors, and suplementing missing cleaner(s) before USPH arrive, in all locations. After all – wearing hats and same uniforms, aren’t all those philipinos looking alike? Again – how simple and how ingenious.