After the grounding of Costa Concordia, the cruise industry took a good hard look at safety. Bringing together the best minds in the business, an all-star panel of experts reviewed standard procedures in place on cruise ships. What they found was no surprise; a system that exceeded the legal requirements for operation of a cruise ship, with flaws.
Earlier this month, the cruise industry updated how they look at safety with some guidelines for what should be included in a cruise ship safety drill, the meeting cruise travelers attend at the beginning of a cruise.
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) already required musters and emergency instructions to be provided for passengers on every cruise ship. Now, in addition to the legal requirements, Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) members have adopted a policy that musters and emergency instructions are to include the following common elements:
- When and how to don a lifejacket
- Description of emergency signals and appropriate responses in the event of an emergency
- Location of lifejackets
- Where to muster when the emergency signal is sounded
- Method of accounting for passenger attendance at musters both for training and in the event of an actual emergency
- How information will be provided in an emergency
- What to expect if the Master orders an evacuation of the ship
- What additional safety information is available
- Instructions on whether passengers should return to cabins prior to mustering, including specifics regarding medications, clothing, and lifejackets
- Description of key safety systems and features
- Emergency routing systems and recognizing emergency exits
- Who to seek out for additional information
“Our industry continues to identify proactively a range of measures that will improve the safety of passengers and crew, which is the top priority of the cruise industry,” said CLIA president and CEO Christine Duffy in a recent CruiseandFerry article.
The latest measure also requires onboard passenger nationalities to be recorded and made available to search-and-rescue teams under the Nationality of Passengers policy on each cruise ship, something not done on Costa Concordia.