Carnival Cruise Lines is deep into its operational investigation of the recent Carnival Triumph fire and subsequent customer issues onboard the ship.
“The ship has been back for about three weeks and all guests are home safely, and as soon as that happened, our focus shifted,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “We are now focused on lessons we can learn from the incident and what additional operational redundancies might be learned from the incident.”
He said Carnival Cruises Lines (www.goccl.com) as well as parent Carnival Corporation, all sister brands, CLIA and regulatory authorities are all doing comprehensive reviews.
Speaking at the annual Cruise Shipping Miami conference in Miami Beach, Cahill told attendees that his line’s team is looking at the following:
· Prevention, protection and suppression of fires;
· Engine room redundancies, as Carnival Triumph had two separate engine rooms but the fire damage rendered both non-operational;
· What additional hotel facilities might be provided that could be powered by an emergency generator?
· Potential operational changes determined from the first three steps and how those might be implemented.
Calling the review “our number one priority,” Cahill said the line has a team that includes those from multiple disciplines - electrical and mechanical engineers, experts in fire safety, and maritime and operational experts.
Team members hail from the line, its parent company, sister brands and outside companies. The review team is operating from four locations - Mobile, AL, Miami, FL, Southampton, U.K. and Trieste, Italy.
Cahill stressed that the Carnival Splendor fire a few years ago was very different; it developed from the catastrophic failure of a diesel generator.
He said Carnival also reviewed policies, procedures and mechanical issues after that fire, and spent millions of dollars on lessons learned.
“And many of those things worked,” said Cahill. “They helped us to extinguish this fire more quickly.”
Cahill said his own line’s investigation is very comprehensive. “It will take us a little time to complete it,” he said. “But rest assured it is our highest priority. It is what we are most focused on. And we will come up with some solutions that we will implement across our fleet.”
What would Cahill say to a potential first time cruiser to convince them it’s safe to cruise? “Something like this is very rare,” he stressed. “If you look at the history of the industry, there have been very few incidents like this.”
“And when we [Carnival Cruise Lines] have had these incidents, we’ve always handled them,” Cahill emphasized, noting that “no one was injured on Carnival Triumph, no one was hurt, no one was ever at risk. We have a very good safety record overall.”
Separately, Christine Duffy, CLIA’s president and CEO, told the Cruise Shipping Miami audience that the recent Triumph incident “affected all of us.” But she said although this type of incident is rare, CLIA and its member lines don’t underestimate the impact.
After the Costa Concordia accident in 2012, CLIA spearheaded a global effort for continual operational improvements and best practices policies within the cruise industry. She stressed that the industry has an exceptional safety record and its leaders are committed to responsible business practices.
“That’s worth underscoring,” she stressed. Duffy also said much attention has recently been placed on regulation but that the cruise industry is already highly regulated.
But, she added that with sizable growth and success, the industry knows it will receive greater visibility and scrutiny.
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