Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the European Cruise Council (ECC) unveiled three additional cruise safety policies to address issues related to lifejacket stowage on newly-constructed ships, the securing of heavy objects onboard ships, and the synchronization of bridge operating procedures within commonly owned and operated fleets. The two cruise organizations claim these policies exceed current international regulatory requirements and are further outcomes of the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review, which was launched in January 2012, immediately after the sinking of Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy.
The Location of Lifejacket Stowage policy complements the existing Excess Lifejackets policy under which oceangoing cruise lines of CLIA and the ECC carry additional adult lifejackets onboard so that the number of lifejackets carried far exceeds the number of persons actually onboard the ship. Under the new policy lifejackets equal to or greater than the number required by international regulations and the ship's flag state are to be stowed in close proximity to either muster stations or lifeboat embarkations points on newly-constructed ships. Consequently, lifejackets will be readily accessible by crewmembers for distribution to passengers in the event of an emergency. This policy further enhances shipboard safety as passengers will have even greater access to lifejackets in the event of an emergency.
The Securing Heavy Objects policy provides that oceangoing member lines of CLIA and the ECC have procedures in their safety management systems to secure heavy objects either permanently, when not in use, or during severe weather. Heavy objects, if not properly secured, have the potential to cause injury. This policy was developed to further safeguard passenger and crew wellbeing. Member lines are to perform ship-wide inspections to ensure heavy objects are properly secured. For example, heavy objects include items such as pianos, televisions, treadmills and laundry equipment. Full implementation of this policy is underway and is to be completed in the coming months.
The new Harmonization of Bridge Procedures policy helps to enhance operational safety within CLIA and ECC oceangoing member lines by achieving consistency in operating procedures within individual companies and among brands within a commonly owned and operated fleet. As members of a ship's bridge team often rotate among different ships, the use of consistent bridge procedures will improve communications, not only onboard the ship but within each company and thereby provide for enhanced operational safety.
"These three new policies build upon the other seven wide-ranging policies that the global cruise industry has proactively adopted since January of this year and are helping improve the safety of passengers and crew, which is our industry's top priority," said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA. "We look forward to continuing our ongoing collaboration with numerous stakeholders across the globe to further enhance our exceptionally strong safety record."
"The broad range of these three new policies is representative of the truly holistic nature of the operational safety review and demonstrates that safety improvements are being made wherever there is scope to do so," said Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, ECC chairman. "Furthermore, these policies again highlight our Members' commitment to harmonizing safety practices across the industry and are reflective of the cruise lines' willingness to adopt and share best practice wherever possible." The new policies will be reported to the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee in late November 2012 for consideration at its next session in May 2013.
As part of the review of safety policies, in February, the global cruise industry instituted a new policy requiring mandatory emergency muster drills for embarking passengers prior to departure from port. In March, the industry put forth recommendations to the IMO supporting enhanced reporting requirements to improve the consistency and transparency of marine casualty data. In April, it announced three policies addressing issues related to passage planning, personnel access to the bridge and lifejackets. In June, the industry announced policies related to the recording of passenger nationality and the common elements of musters and emergency instructions. In September the industry announced a policy regarding lifeboat loading for crew training purposes. Additional best practices and policies developed through the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review will be announced and implemented on an ongoing basis.