|Photo by Susan J. Young|
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the European Cruise Council jointly announced that the cruise industry has adopted three new safety policies on passage planning, access to the bridge and lifejackets. The policies will be implemented immediately by member lines.
Manfredi Lefebvre, chairman of the European Cruise Council (ECC), a CLIA Executive Committee member, and chairman of Silversea Cruises, made the announcement at a European Commission-organized ship safety event in Brussels.
Lefebvre said the new policies go beyond the strictest of existing regulatory requirements.
Passage Planning: Although cruise lines have followed IMO guidance on passage planning for many years, CLIA and ECC now deem that to be a mandatory minimum requirement and said it should be enhanced by endorsement of the best practices contained in the International Chamber of Shipping’s Bridge Procedures Guide.
In addition, all bridge team members will now be included in a bridge briefing to be conducted well in advance of sailing. The plan is to be drafted by a designated officer and approved by the master.
Personnel Access To The Bridge: To minimize unnecessary disruptions and distractions on the bridge, the industry has adopted a new policy that bridge access is to be limited to those with operational functions during any period of restricted manueuvring or when increased vigilance is required.
Lifejackets: In addition to the statutory requirement of carrying lifejackets for each person onboard, the industry is now adopting a policy of carrying additional adult lifejackets onboard each cruise ship in excess of these legal requirements.
The goal is that the number of additional adult lifejackets to be provided must not be less than the total number of persons berthed within the ship’s most populated main vertical fire zone. This ensures that the number of lifejackets carried is far in excess of the number of persons actually onboard the ship.
These policies were first reviewed by CLIA’s recently-announced panel of outside maritime and safety experts. That group continues to evaluate suggested policy improvements and best safety practices for industry-wide implementation, and ultimately, formal submission to the United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Lefebvre told European Commission officials that each of the policies will be reported to the IMO for consideration at their next session in May.
“As highlighted by these wide-ranging policies, we continue to take proactive measures to improve the safety of passengers and crew across the globe,” said Christine Duffy, CLIA's president and CEO. “We look forward to working collaboratively to identify any additional operational issues that will achieve our longstanding goal of of continuous improvement and innovation in shipboard operations and safety.”
Manfredi Lefebvre said: “Today’s European Commission event is in perfect alignment with our industry efforts to improve cruise ship safety. I am pleased to be given a chance by European Commissioner VP & Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas to outline how the industry and the regulators can move forward together in our common goal of preventing future accidents.”
He added: “The cruise industry is highly regulated and it is this regulatory regime, complied with onboard by our professional and committed officers and crews, that has given the cruise industry a truly remarkable safety record. But as the Concordia incident demonstrates, there is no such thing as perfect safety. We do strive for a perfect commitment to safety. And as part of our commitment to a safety culture, the industry – both individually as cruise lines and collectively through CLIA and the ECC – beginning January 27 launched an Operational Safety Review to learn the lessons from Concordia and to conduct a top to bottom safety review.”
Lefebvre said: “By bringing forward voluntary initiatives such as these, we significantly and immediately improve safety standards. These initiatives are, we believe, fully supportive of the Commission’s goal of re-launching their ‘Quality Shipping Campaign’ through voluntary partnership agreements with the shipping industry as set out in its Maritime Policy 2009-2018. Specifically, we very much hope that the results of the Operational Safety Review as they are delivered over the coming months will give us fertile ground to grow our partnership with the Commission.”
He said that the CLIA-ECC approach will achieve concrete, practical and significant safety dividends in the shortest possible time.
The previous two steps to improve safety taken post-Concordia focused on a new muster drill policy (February 9, 2012) and enhanced reporting requirements to ensure the consistency and transparency of marine casualty data (March 21, 2012).