The global cruise industry has confirmed plans to adopt three new safety policies with immediate effect.
As predicted by Travel Weekly on Monday, the European Cruise Council and the Cruise Lines International Association has agreed to limit access to the bridge, ensure ships carry more lifejackets and adopt better itinerary planning.
The industry-wide operational safety review announced in the wake of the Costa Concordia disaster in January will include a panel of four independent experts who will be consulted on all current and future measures. The panel includes former UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch and retired Royal Navy Admiral Stephen Meyer.
The new safety measures were confirmed by ECC chariman and CLIA executive committee member Manfredi Lefebvre at a European Commission ship safety conference in Brussels.
As part of the new rules, additional adult lifejackets will be made available on each cruise ship to ensure that the number of lifejackets carried is “far in excess” of the number of people onboard.
To minimise “unnecessary disruptions and distractions” bridge access is to be limited to those with operational functions during any period of restricted manoeuvring or when increased vigilance is required.
Meanwhile, 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 ship’s master.
Lefebvre said: “Today’s European Commission event is in perfect alignment with our industry efforts to improve cruise ship safety.
I am pleased to be given a chance by European transport commissioner Siim Kallas to outline how the industry and the regulators can move forward together in our common goal of preventing future accidents.”
He added: “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.”
He continued: “By bringing forward voluntary initiatives such as these, we significantly and immediately improve safety standards.
“These initiatives are, we believe, fully supportive of the Commission’s goal of re-launching their ‘Quality Shipping Campaign’ through voluntary partnership agreements with the shipping industry as set out in its Maritime Policy 2009-2018.
“Specifically, we very much hope that the results of the operational safety review as they are delivered over the coming months will give us fertile ground to grow our partnership with the Commission.”
This approach will achieve “concrete, practical and significant safety dividends in the shortest possible time”.
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