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New Costa safety initiatives may be adopted by all Carnival brands

Four months after the Costa Concordia disaster delivered a shuddering blow to Europe’s largest cruise company, Costa Crociere has announced seven new initiatives designed to ensure ‘the highest safety standards before departure and during the cruise, moving even further ahead of current regulatory requirements.’

Speaking in Venice on Saturday at the delivery ceremony for the 114,500gt Costa Fascinosa, chief executive Pier Luigi Foschi said the company had learned lessons from the Concordia disaster and would work to ensure ‘an even greater awareness of safety.’

The new initiatives, many of which are likely to be extended across Carnival’s portfolio of brands, include the launch of a real-time route-monitoring system for the Costa fleet, including an alarm to alert Costa headquarters if a ship deviates from its expected route.

Costa is also introducing a more collegial bridge management model, in which officers will collaborate in thinking through maneuvers and in the formulation of the ship navigation plan before departure. Such deliberations would include discussion of weather, sea conditions, routes, traffic situation and ship status.

Foschi stressed that final authority would remain with the captain, but said the company would push in collaboration with shipowners’ association Confitarma for changes in Italy’s navigation code to accommodate the new arrangements.

In addition, Costa has also begun putting passengers through emergency training before leaving port. Pre-Concordia, it followed the regulatory requirement that such training be carried out within 24 hours, a policy instituted by all Cruise Lines International Association member lines shortly after the accident.

Howard Frank, vice chairman and coo of parent company Carnival Corp. & plc, confirmed that, where not already in place, the new provisions would likely be rolled out across the group’s other cruise lines.

He added that Carnival would seek approval for the vessel-tracking procedures from CLIA and the European Cruise Council. ‘The process is to get our colleagues (at other cruise lines) on board and see if they back it. Certainly, it will have Carnival’s support.’

Foschi noted of the Costa Concordia disaster that ‘between perfection and what man can do there is always man,’ in the shape of human error. ‘We are trying to introduce changes that allow us to be even better than we were in terms of safety.’

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