Cruise Industry Mandates Biannual Lifeboat Exercises for Crews

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September 20, 2012

The international cruise ship industry has added yet another voluntarily adopted safety rule in the wake of the Costa Concordia disaster. The new policy is the latest safety precaution established under the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review, which was launched in January 2012, that exceeds current international regulations.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the European Cruise Council (ECC), acting on behalf of the global cruise industry, announced Thursday that the cruise industry has adopted a new safety policy that addresses issues related to the loading of lifeboats by crewmembers for training purposes.

The new Life Boat Loading for Training Purposes policy requires the launching and full loading of a lifeboat at least once every six months for crew training purposes for all oceangoing members of CLIA and ECC, effective immediately. During the training, the lifeboat is filled to capacity with crewmembers and maneuvered in the water to facilitate familiarization with lifeboat operations. The new policy makes it mandatory for all crewmembers that are involved in operating or loading lifeboats to attend the drill.

“The cruise industry continues to work on a global level to improve the safety of passengers and crew, which is our number one priority,” said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA. “Since January of this year, and in keeping with our efforts to continuously improve operational excellence, the global cruise industry has voluntarily adopted seven wide-ranging safety policies. We remain fully committed to exploring further enhancements in a number of areas that will add to the industry’s excellent safety record.”

Commenting on the new policy Manfredi Lefebvre, ECC Chairman said “The Cruise industry’s Operational Safety Review demonstrates our on-going determination to ensure that cruise ships remain the safest vacation option and the safest part of the shipping industry. This policy, like all the policies that have already been developed by the Operational Safety Review, exceeds current international regulatory requirements and has been externally verified by world renowned independent experts.”

Lefebvre added, “Our industry is committed to improving our safety performance in the short, the medium and the long term I believe our approach supports the goal of European Commission of re-launching their ‘Quality Shipping Campaign’ as set out in its Maritime Policy 2009-2018.”

The Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review receives advice and input from a panel of outside maritime and safety experts. These individuals are evaluating suggested policy improvements as part of the cruise industry’s continuous efforts to review and improve safety measures by developing comprehensive best practices for industry-wide implementation and, ultimately, formal submission to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as appropriate. This policy will be submitted to the IMO for consideration at its next session in November.

CLIA announced the launch of the Review on January 27, 2012 in wake of the Costa Concordia disaster. As part of the Review 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. Additional best practices and policies developed through the Review will be announced and implemented on an ongoing basis.

A full version of the Life Boat Loading for Training Purposes policy can be accessed at All CLIA policies can be viewed at

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