Safety changes have begun to take place less than a month after the Costa Concordia disaster. The largest three cruise industry associations have changed the timing of when a muster drill must take place.
Muster drills must now take place before a cruise ship leaves port, changing the old rule of within 24 hours of embarkation. All passengers are required to attend the muster drill. A week ago, a passenger was kicked off the ship after purposely skipping the safety drill.
Muster drills are safety meetings where passengers assemble at the lifeboat where they are assigned if there is an actual emergency. A crew member takes a roll call to make sure that everyone is attending. Some cruise ships require that passengers bring their life vests with them to the drill, although there has not yet been word on whether this will become a requirement as well. Each passenger has a life vest in their room, it is normally located in their closet. Ships also have extra life vests near the evacuation boats if guests are not able to get back to their cabins to retrieve it. There are also enough boats for every passenger and crew member. After the sinking of the Titanic, this became mandatory.
The latest totals of the Concordia accident are 16 dead, and another 16 missing. Close to 600 of the 3,000 passengers on board the Concordia had not participated in the muster drill. They had only been on the ship a few hours and a muster drill was planned to take place the following day.
This new policy has been put in place by CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), the European Cruise Council, and the Passenger Shipping Association. Any passengers that arrive on board the ship after the drills have been held or misses the drill will receive their own safety meetings.
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