As the latest response to the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review conducted earlier this year, the cruise ship industry has adopted a number of additional voluntary safety measures designed to make cruise ships safer for passengers.
The Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review was convened after the Costa Concordia, an Italian cruise liner, was grounded on a reef off the Italian coastline in January 2012. The Concordia disaster left over thirty people dead and 64 injured, and caused a serious dent in the cruise industry’s otherwise stellar safety record. The Safety Review has already lead to the institution of four voluntary safety policies for cruise liners, including safety standards related to passage planning, life jacket use, access to the bridge by ship crew members and passenger muster drills.
In a further attempt to tighten safety onboard and entice wary passengers back to the cruise industry, members of the European Cruise Council (ECC) and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) have instituted new safety policies. The new policies include passenger nationality records, emergency drills on board and improved clarity of instructions in an emergency.
The Nationality of Passengers policy adopted last week states that the nationality of every passenger on board the cruise liner should be provided and recorded. This information should then be made easily available for any staff members or rescue personnel in the event of an emergency. This policy was instituted as a response to requests issued at the May convention of the Maritime Safety Committee by a number of foreign governments concerned about the well-being of their citizens while on European cruise liners.
The Common Elements of Musters and Emergency Instructions is the second new policy adopted. In order to write up these guidelines, experienced members of the maritime tourism industry researched and decided on 12 factors that should be included in emergency drills and procedures conducted on board a cruise ship. The most important features to mention are descriptions of the safety features on the ship and how to access them, and detailed demonstrations of emergency exit routes. In addition, passengers should be instructed on how to identify emergency exits and safety equipment, and what procedures to follow in the case of an emergency.
Leaders in the cruise ship industry hope that the new safety policies will raise passenger safety standards globally, and show the world that cruise line companies are willing to act on the recommendations of concerned stakeholders and passengers.