CLIA, European Cruise Council adopt three new safety policies

By Donna Tunney

CLIA and the European Cruise Council agreed to adopt three new safety policies as part of the industry's ongoing Operational Safety Review that was launched after the Costa Cruises' Concordia shipwreck in Italy.

Manfredi Lefebvre, chairman of the European Cruise Council, member of the CLIA executive committee and chairman of Silversea Cruises, unveiled the policies at the Passenger Ship Safety conference in Brussels on April 24.

The policies are as follows:

  • Passage planning: Each ship's passage plan -- i.e., its specific route -- must be drafted by a designated officer and approved by the captain. The plan must be thoroughly briefed to all bridge team members well in advance of its implementation.
  • Bridge access: To minimize unnecessary disruptions and distractions on the bridge, bridge access will be limited to those with operational functions during any period of restricted maneuvering or when increased vigilance is required.
  • Life jackets: In addition to the requirement of providing a life jacket for each person onboard, more life jackets must be available on each ship.

The policies will be submitted to the United Nations' International Maritime Organization for consideration at its next session in May.

The new rules are the result of the Operational Safety Review, created in January in response to the Concordia accident in which 32 people died. Two regulations have previously been implemented: one requires that all muster drills be completed before a ship leaves port, and the other enhances reporting requirements of marine casualty data.

"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," Lefebvre said at the conference, which was sponsored by the European Commission.

"But as the Concordia incident demonstrates, there is no such thing as perfect safety," he said. "We do strive for a perfect commitment to safety."

Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA, said the industry would continue to take proactive measures to improve safety.

CLIA's four-member panel

The newly adopted policies were reviewed by CLIA's four-member panel of maritime and safety experts, who are charged with assessing recommendations that emerge from the safety review.

The panel members are Mark Rosenker, former chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a retired major general for the U.S Air Force Reserve and former director of the White House Military Office; Stephen Meyer, a retired admiral of the Royal Navy and former head of the U.K. Marine Accident Investigation Branch; Jack Spencer, former chief of the NTSB's Office of Marine Safety; and Willem de Ruiter, former head of the European Maritime Safety Agency.

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