Cruise ship safety set to be tightened

Cruise ship safety set to be tightened

A tightening of cruise ship safety standards is due to be outlined by the European Commission and the industry tomorrow (Tuesday) in the wake of the Costa Concordia disaster.

Access to ships’ bridges will be restricted and tighter monitoring of watertight doors will be amid the revamp of passenger ship safety.

EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas is expected to tell a conference that the ultimate aim must be that, wherever a passenger boards a ship in the world, safety should be at “the highest possible level”.

“Passengers should expect the same safety standards whether they are crossing on an overnight ferry from Sweden to Finland, or sailing from Malta to Sicily on a day trip,” the Financial Times said he will say.

The tightening-up of safety announced at the conference will fall into two parts – three voluntary commitments from industry body the European Cruise Council and two sets of instructions from the Commission to member states over inspections of ships in port.

The cruise council is expected to propose closer monitoring of access to ships’ bridges to ensure that unnecessary visitors are excluded.

The trade body is also likely to commit itself to undertaking more rigorous pre-planning of vessels’ routes and monitoring of whether they have been followed.

It is also proposed that ships should carry more life jackets in more positions around the vessel, to reduce the time and walking involved in finding a life jacket.

The Commission will ask member states to check more closely on vessels' procedures for recording who is on board, after initial confusion about who was on board the Concordia.

International cruise companies moved immediately after the Concordia disaster to ensure passengers had to hold muster drills to practise evacuation before ships departed.

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