All passengers embarking on cruise ships will be required to undergo a muster drill before they leave port, following a review of safety procedures.
The mandatory drills are to be imposed by the global cruise industry after scenes of chaos were recorded by passengers during the grounding of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy with 4,200 people on board last month.
The new policy exceeds legal requirements which state that muster drills can happen at any time within 24 hours of passenger embarkation.
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 on Thursday.
It has been voluntarily initiated by the associations’ members and is effective immediately.
A joint statement from the organisations said: “On rare occasions when passengers arrive after the muster has been completed, 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 formal 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.”
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