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The Project

Cal Maritime is a leader in promoting environmental health and safety for the maritime industry, our students, and our campus community.  Examples of our commitment include recent environmental projects with partners including the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (MARAD), the California Air Resources Board, and the California State Lands Commission.  These projects have focused on improving ballast water treatment, reducing fuel emissions, and improving hull-fouling processes along with other environmental issues and concerns. 

Recently the Academy began a collaborative effort with the Steris Corporation to improve shipboard sterilization techniques and thus improve the health and safety of crews and passengers on ships.  Steris, Inc. is an important developer of hospital sterilization systems and techniques.  They are also the leading R & D firm involved in medical equipment sterilization and more recently building and aircraft sterilization.  Steris and Cal Maritime are partnering to expand this technology to ships and the maritime community. The project will focus on the development of specialized equipment to deploy the Steris decontamination process on board operating ships.  This is the same decontamination process which is used emergency rooms, hospitals, ambulances and more recently aircraft to provide safe, healthy environments in the nation’s leading healthcare facilities. 

The Procedures

The STERIS Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide (VHP) decontamination process employs hydrogen peroxide vapor to inactivate microorganisms.  The VHP process is used routinely in the pharmaceutical industry to maintain microorganism free environments for the manufacture of sterile drug and surgical products.  

 During the week of March 26, 2012, the research team will conduct sterilization activities in three rooms aboard the Golden Bear while docked in Vallejo.  The purpose of the three exercises is to gather data needed to steer the development of a sterilization delivery system specifically for ships.   During each exercise the VHP process will be deployed in each room.  For each exercise; the room’s existing microbes will be sampled, a self-contained biological indicator will be placed in the room and the VHP unit will be placed in the room.  The room will be sealed to maximize the effectiveness of the process, the exercise site will be inspected to insure effective research protocols, and the sterilization process will begin.  The process will be completely contained within the specific room and should not interrupt normal operations or use of the ship. 

The Process

To minimize disruption and ensure the ongoing operations for the campus, key STERIS and CMA personnel have co-developed a comprehensive plan to monitor and ensure that the exercises are carried out in a safe and effective manner with as little impact on students and personnel as possible. The exercises will occur over three days. During each room’s sterilization process that room will be off limits from approximately 8 - 5 pm.  Signs will be posted to indicate the restricted areas and if needed detours will be marked to facilitate traffic on the ship.

Prior to the exercises effected students and personnel will be provided with information and instructions to help protect the integrity of the research while minimizing the impact on the ship’s inhabitants.   

The safety of students, faculty and staff and the effective functioning of the entire campus community is a top priority at Cal Maritime.  Careful plans and protocols have been developed to insure that this goal is met.