In the wake of the Costa Concordia shipwreck in which 32 people are believed to have died, Cruise Lines International Association along with the European Cruise Council have announced 3 new safety policies which should be implemented right away.
These three new regulations go beyond what has been required for cruise ship safety in the past and are an attempt to address the concerns of future cruisers. The three new policies involve three main areas of concern: cruise ship passage planning, security in access to the bridge, and lifejackets.
Cruise ship passage planning:
This new regulation makes IMO guidance more of a mandatory procedure than a recommendation. In other words, cruise ships have to plan for a certain course and passage alone the way, and changes in that course can only be made if everyone on the bridge agrees. Furthermore, those plans have to be agreed upon before the cruise ship leaves port as well. This regulation could have prevented what led to the Costa Concordia wreck when the captain decided upon a passage that was much closer to the shore than had been recommended.
Access to the Bridge:
In addition, cruise lines will tighten access to ships’ Bridges “to minimize unnecessary disruptions and distractions”. This will be especially true when certain maneuvers and tasks require more vigilance. This is obviously another regulation that stems from the events of the Concordia tragedy.
Prior to these new regulations, cruise ships only had to have enough lifejackets for every cruise passenger and crew member on board, but now that has changed. Cruise ships will have to have excess lifejackets for more than the people on board and “must not be less than the total number of persons berthed within the ship’s most populated main vertical fire zone.” This makes sure that the number of lifejackets available is in excess of the number of persons actually onboard the cruise ship.
The announcement was made by Chairman of the European Cruise Council (ECC) and Member of the CLIA Executive Committee, Manfredi Lefebvre, who also stated,
“The cruise industry is highly regulated and it is this regulatory regime, complied with onboard by our professional and committed officers and crews, that has given the cruise industry a truly remarkable safety record. But as the Concordia incident demonstrates, there is no such thing as perfect safety. We do strive for a perfect commitment to safety. And as part of our commitment to a safety culture, the industry – both individually as cruise lines and collectively through CLIA and the ECC – beginning January 27 launched an Operational Safety Review to learn the lessons from Concordia and to conduct a top to bottom safety review.”
These new regulations for safety on cruise ships follow other changes like the mandatory muster drill before leaving port and should make cruise ship travel a more attractive option for those concerned about safety in light of the last 6 months.