Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the European Cruise Council (ECC), in the wake of the sinking of the Costa Concordia in January, announced that the cruise industry has adopted an additional safety policy on lifeboats. This policy, which CLIA and ECC said exceeds current international regulatory requirements, addresses issues related to the loading of lifeboats by crewmembers for training purposes.
CLIA said the new policy is an outcome of the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review, which was launched in January 2012, immediately after the Concordia incident. During that event, some passengers cited what appeared to be a lack of crew training in loading lifeboats.
The 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. It is mandatory that all crewmembers involved in operating or loading of lifeboats attend the drill. Smaller ships with less than 300 crewmembers will conduct similar training as appropriate.
"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."
A full version of the new policy can be viewed by clicking on Life Boat Loading for Training Purposes. All CLIA policies can be viewed by clicking on CLIA Regulatory Industry Policies.
CLIA launched a review of its regulatory policies on Jan. 27, 2012, just after the Concordia sinking. 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.