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Dingle - other focus areas delve into human element

New cruise safety steps hone in on emergency instructions, pax nationality

The cruise industry is to introduce two new measures designed to improve cruise ship safety in the wake of the Costa Concordia disaster earlier this year. Speaking at the European Cruise Council’s annual conference in Brussels on Tuesday, Carnival UK chief executive David Dingle said the initiatives include new industry-wide muster and emergency instructions with 12 common elements focused on key safety features. An explanation of emergency routing systems and recognizing emergency exits is part of that.

In addition, the industry will now expand the information submitted on passengers prior to the commencement of a cruise to include their nationality. Dingle did not go into detail, but in the event of an emergency, knowing the passenger nationalities would likely assist in the response concerning languages, family notification and which local representations, such as consulates, to contact.

He described the new safety initiatives as only the latest fruits of the Operational Safety Review set up by the industry through the ECC and the US-based Cruise Lines International Association in the wake of the Concordia disaster, when 32 passengers and crew members died on or after the night of January 13.

The first results of the review announced on January 27 were a new muster drill policy to ensure all passengers go through safety training prior to sailing, and enhanced reporting requirements to ensure consistency and transparency of marine casualty data.

In April, the ECC and CLIA announced a trio of additional safety enhancements, including more stringent provisions on passage planning, limiting bridge access to personnel with operational functions, and a requirement to increase the provision of life jackets on board ship.

Dingle described the safety review—which involves internal analysis by individual cruise lines, consultation with a panel of four independent experts, and collaboration with the IMO, the US and the European Union—as evidence of the industry’s long-standing commitment to safety.

‘Other areas we are looking at include bridge resource management, mustering procedures, the selection and training of senior officers and a requirement for simulator training,’ he said, noting that ‘what these all have in common is the human element.’

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