Following the spate of cruise liners that sank or were run aground earlier this year, three new safety policies have been implemented by cruise industry authorities, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and European Cruise Council. The new policies are to be implemented immediately. Included in the safety policies are improved passage planning on the ships and improved access to bridge and life jackets for passengers. These policies are the third intervention that have occurred as a result of a cruise line safety review following the sinking of Italian cruise ship the Costa Concordia earlier this year.

Manfredi Lefebvre, the chairman of the European Council and an executive member of the CLIA, outlined how these latest policies have been accepted by the cruise industry at a major Passenger Ship Safety event organized by the European Commission in Brussels.

This last of the three policies addresses issues not dealt with by current regulation, specifically access to the bridge and life jackets by both crew and passengers, and planning of passages on the ship. The policies will be presented to the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization at their next session in June of this year.

The policies recommend the implementation of the following measures:

1)      Passage Planning:  There have been guidelines on passage planning on cruise ships for some time now, but the new policy determines a mandatory minimum requirement and incorporates the International Chamber of Shipping’s Bridge Procedures Guide. If the policy is accepted, all bridge team members will have to be well briefed on all passage plans, and the plans need to be approved by the ship master.

2)      Access to the Bridge: In order to prevent unnecessary disruptions on the bridge, the new policy recommends that access to the bridge is limited only to those personnel who are performing operational functions.

3)      Life Jackets: The policy recommends a number of revisions to the current statutory requirement for life jackets to be made available for each passenger and crew member on board the vessel. Under the new policy, additional adult life jackets should be made available above and beyond the minimum legal requirements.

The recommendations in the policy were reviewed and approved by the CLIA’s panel of maritime safety experts. The CLIA continues to evaluate suggested improvements in current safety policies for the cruise ship industry and aims to develop a collection of best practices that will be submitted to the International Maritime Organization for approval and implementation.

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