Worldwide Cruise Industry Adds New Safety Rules

When the Costa Concordia grounded in January, the worldwide cruise industry community came together as never before, ordering an Operational Safety Review. The review is complete and resulted in three new policies set to address safety concerns

These three new policies, which go beyond the strict international regulatory requirements that cruise lines must already comply with, address issues related to passage planning, personnel access to the bridge and lifejackets. Each of these three policies will be reported to the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO) for consideration at their next session in May.

“As highlighted by these wide-ranging policies, we continue to take proactive measures to improve the safety of passengers and crew across the globe,” said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) in a statement. “We look forward to working collaboratively to identify any additional operational issues that will achieve our longstanding goal of continuous improvement and innovation in shipboard operations and safety.”

The three policies govern:

  1. Passage Planning – Although cruise lines have followed IMO guidance on passage planning for many years, our policy now deems this to be a mandatory minimum requirement and enhanced by endorsement of the best practices contained in the International Chamber of Shipping’s Bridge Procedures Guide. Furthermore, under this policy each passage plan is to be thoroughly briefed to all bridge team members well in advance of its implementation and it is to be drafted by a designated officer and approved by the master.
  2. Personnel Access To The Bridge – To minimize unnecessary disruptions and distractions on the bridge, we have adopted a policy that bridge access is to be limited to those with operational functions during any period of restricted manoeuvring or when increased vigilance is required.
  3. Lifejackets – In addition to the statutory requirement of carriage of lifejackets for each person onboard, we have adopted a policy of carrying additional adult lifejackets onboard each cruise ship in excess of these legal requirements so that the number of additional adult lifejackets to be provided must not be less than the total number of persons berthed within the ship’s most populated main vertical fire zone. This ensures that the number of lifejackets carried is far in excess of the number of persons actually onboard the ship.

These three rules are in addition to a new emergency drill policy requiring mandatory muster for embarking passengersprior to departure from port.  That new policy was released previously and also consistent with the industry’s announcement January 27 of a complete safety review in response to the Concordia grounding and as part of the industry’s continuous efforts to review and improve safety measures.

The Cruise Lines International Association, European Cruise Council, and the Passenger Shipping Association put forward the new policy with the support of their member cruise lines.

Under the new muster policy,

  • A mandatory muster of all embarking passengers will happen prior to departure from port.
  • Late arriving passengers will be promptly provided with individual or group safety briefings that meet the requirements for musters applicable under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).
  • The policy is designed to help ensure that any mandatory musters or briefings are conducted for the benefit of all newly embarked passengers at the earliest practical opportunity.

The Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review also ncluded a comprehensive assessment of the critical human factors and operational aspects of maritime safety.   The industry’s efforts also are consistent with the framework and spirit of the International Safety Management Code.

Photo Credit: Bob AuBuchon via Compfight

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