A muster drill aboard a cruise ship.

A muster drill aboard a cruise ship.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), now the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, on Wednesday briefed the media on the progress of the Global Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review and announce plans to continue its focus on operational safety improvements and best practices in wake of the Costa Concordia disaster last January.

Immediately following the disaster, the global cruise industry launched the comprehensive review that looked into of the critical human factors and operational aspects of maritime safety. The Review was released January 27, and since then the global cruise industry, with input from an independent panel of experts with extensive experience in maritime, regulatory and accident investigation fields, introduced ten new safety policies, each exceeding current international regulatory requirements, that have been adopted by members of CLIA.

Policies resulting from the Review address muster drills, bridge access and procedures, life jacket availability and location, lifeboat loading drills, recording of passenger nationalities for on-shore emergency services personnel, and securing of heavy objects. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) recently approved incorporation of the cruise industry’s recommendation for the mandatory muster of passengers prior to departure from port in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which provides comprehensive mandates on safety equipment and procedures for ships.

“The industry’s commitment to the safety of passengers and crew remains our number one priority,” said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA on behalf of the global cruise industry. “The Operational Safety Review was part of our industry’s longstanding and ongoing mission of continuous improvement and innovation in shipboard operations and safety. It also was a rededication of our commitment to safety on behalf of the victims and all those affected by the Concordia incident, and the millions of other passengers and crew that sail on cruise ships every year.”

Duffy also stated, “I am excited to announce today that the independent panel of experts will continue to assist our industry in providing ideas, guidance and impartial analysis going forward. They will be actively engaged through CLIA’s many Technical and Regulatory Committees. This will ensure that while the formal structure of the OSR Task Force winds down, our industry will continue to benefit from their active input and expertise. We will continue to collaborate with IMO and other stakeholders to create a culture of safety that fosters a safe and secure environment for all who sail with us.”

“During the course of the Operational Safety Review, my fellow expert panelists and I played an active role in shaping the ten policies that were adopted this year and offering additional recommendations that were incorporated in the Review,” said Mark Rosenker, a member of the Review’s independent panel of experts. “The cruise industry was receptive to our input and has actively collaborated with our expert panel, as well as global maritime authorities, class societies, and shipbuilders to enhance safety standards in what is already a very safe industry.”

“My involvement with the Review has given me confidence that not only is the industry fulfilling its obligations to deliver voluntary commitments but that it is also engaged in proactive and responsible relationships with regulators across the globe,” said Willem De Ruiter, another member of the panel of experts. “The independent panel of experts looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the global cruise industry to develop policies to continually improve safety on board ships.”

Rosenker is the Former Chairman of the United States National Transportation Safety Board. De Ruiter is Former Head and Executive Director of the European Maritime Safety Agency. Other members of the independent panel of experts are Stephen Meyer, Former Rear Admiral in the Royal Navy and Head of the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch and Dr. Jack Spencer, Former Director, Office of Marine Safety, United States National Transportation Safety Board.

A full list of the policies is online at http://www.cruising.org/regulatory/cruise-industry-policies/cruise-industry-operational-safety-review.  An executive summary of the Review is online at http://www.cruising.org/regulatory/osr-executive-summary.

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