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CLIA assures US Travel Assn. members cruising is safe

Are cruise ships safe? ‘The answer is resoundingly yes,’ Cruise Lines International Association told the US travel industry in an open letter distributed Friday. ‘Evidence clearly shows that compared to virtually any other form of mass recreation or travel, cruises are one of the safest activities around,’ CLIA president and ceo Christine Duffy wrote. She said that in the five years before the Costa Concordia incident, more than 100m people took a cruise, with 16 casualties worldwide due to marine accident or collision.

Duffy made her remarks in a letter distributed by US Travel Association president and ceo Roger Dow. The communication is part of CLIA’s enhanced outreach to industry partners and media as the organization moves from the immediate crisis response to addressing the issues arising from Costa Concordia and assuring the public that cruising is safe.

The letter expressed appreciation for the support CLIA has received from across the travel business and recapped actions spurred by the Concordia incident. Those include an operational safety review undertaken by each cruise line, and the first best practice to emerge from that review: mandating emergency drills for embarking passengers prior to departure from port.

The new muster drill policy, announced Thursday and voluntarily initiated by members of CLIA as well as the European Cruise Council and the UK’s Passenger Shipping Association, exceeds current legal requirements that mandate a muster within 24 hours of embarkation.

Duffy also said that ‘From day one, we have made communication a high priority—making information and technical experts available to the media, public officials, industry partners and the public generally.’

She recounted the global cruise industry briefing for media in London on Jan. 19, and briefings on Capitol Hill and in Brussels with the European Commission as well as further meetings and legislative hearings to come.

‘While we are proud of our record of safety, it does nothing to minimize our deep anguish over the casualties of the Concordia,’ Duffy said. ‘As a global industry, we are focusing our efforts on preventing such an occurrence from ever happening again.’

She added that the safety and security of passengers and crew remain CLIA’s No. 1 priority, and said that ‘as new developments occur in this pursuit, we pledge to keep you updated and informed.’

US Travel members include travel service providers, destinations, allies/affiliates and travel associations nationwide.

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