Costa Cruises’ parent Carnival Corporation is to undertake a “comprehensive review” of all safety and emergency response procedures across its nine cruise lines which run 101 ships worldwide.
Carnival also gave its backing to a call for thorough evaluation of safety regulations by the International Maritime Organisation, requested yesterday by the Cruise Lines International Association.
The moves came as Costa confirmed that survivors of the Costa Concordia will receive a refund for the abandoned cruise after the ship run onto rocks off the west of Italy and “all material expenses relating to it”.
The Italian company added that it was in contact with passengers and consumer protection associations “to determine indemnity for the hardship endured, with the support of the tour operator association of each country”.
This came as a video emerged showing the crew of Costa Concordia reassuring passengers nothing was wrong, after the ship had begun taking in water.
In the amateur footage, a crew member says “everything is under control” and a generator problem will be fixed. She asks passengers to go to their cabins.
The vessel ran aground off Italy’s coast with 4,200 people on board and listed on its side. At least 11 people died and 21 are still missing.
Italian media broadcast what is claimed to be the first phone conversation between port officials and crew of the vessel about 30 minutes after the ship hit rocks. In the exchange, a crew member is heard saying it is experiencing only a blackout, the BBC reported.
Carnival chairman and CEO Micky Arison admitted the Costa Concordia tragedy “has called into question our company’s safety and emergency response procedures and practices”.
He added: “While I have every confidence in the safety of our vessels and the professionalism of our crews, this review will evaluate all practices and procedures to make sure that this kind of accident doesn’t happen again.”
The action by the company, which includes UK-based P&O Cruises and Cunard Line together with the likes of Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line and Seabourn, will be led by retired US navy captain James Hunn, the organisation’s senior vice president of maritime policy and compliance.
Hunn and senior health and safety executives from each of the lines will review all safety and emergency response policies and procedures, officer and crew training and evaluation, bridge management and company-wide response and support efforts. He will report to the Carnival’s health, environment, safety & security committee and to chief operations officer Howard Frank.
Carnival also announced that the committee is engaging outside “industry-leading experts” in the fields of emergency response organisation, training and implementation to conduct an audit of all of the company’s emergency response and safety procedures and to conduct a thorough review of the Costa Concordia accident.
Frank said: “This company-wide initiative will identify lessons learned and best practices to further ensure the security and safety of all of our passengers and crew.”
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