CLIA Names Four-Member Safety Panel for Operational Review


Photo by Susan J. Young

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) appointed a four-person panel of maritime and safety experts, who will assess recommendations by CLIA member lines, as part of a Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review, launched in January 2012.

In a press release, CLIA said the panel will evaluate suggested policy improvements as part of its effort to review and improve safety measures. The effort was begun post-Concordia.

CLIA plans to develop what it terms "best practices for industry-wide implementation" and ultimately, to formally submit appropriate ones to the International Maritime Organization.

“Our number one priority is the safety of passengers and crew. The launch of the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review was consistent with our industry’s longstanding tradition of taking proactive measures to strengthen safety practices and procedures,” said Christine Duffy, CLIA's president and CEO. “The impartial opinions and advice of these distinguished experts will help achieve our goal of continuous improvement and innovation in shipboard operations and safety.”

Members of the panel of safety experts are:

Mark Rosenker, former chairman of the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a retired Major General, United States Air Force Reserve, and former director of the White House Military Office.

Stephen Meyer, Admiral Royal Navy, retired. Former Commander of a number of Royal Navy ships, and former head of the United Kingdom Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

Dr. Jack Spencer, former chief, Office of Marine Safety, United States National Transportation Safety Board. Dr. Spencer has more than 40 years of experience with the U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board. He has also been on U.S. delegations to the IMO for 30 years.

Willem de Ruiter, former head of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). In 2003, Mr. de Ruiter was appointed as the first executive director of EMSA and charged with building up the organization, after a distinguished career in the Dutch government and at the European Commission.

By its selection of these panelists, CLIA clearly has tapped high-powered, highly visible safety experts who have distinguished themselves in their fields, both in the United States and Europe.

Each panel member brings deep experience in the maritime, regulatory and accident investigation fields. For example, as the NTSB board member on scene, Rosenker supervised the NTSB investigation into the April 2004 derailment of Amtrak's City of New Orleans near Flora, Mississippi, as well as the November 2004 crash of a charter jet aircraft in Houston, Texas (the plane was on its way to pick up former President George H.W. Bush).

The maritime operational and safety review that was conducted in the first quarter by CLIA lines included a comprehensive assessment of human factors and operational policies/practices.

One immediate change post-Concordia was that CLIA member lines now are mustering passengers for a mandatory emergency drill prior to any ship's departure from port.

In March, CLIA members also provided recommendations to the IMO that supported enhanced reporting requirements. The goal is to improve the consistency and transparency of marine casualty data.

Additional best practices and policies developed through the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review will be announced and implemented on an ongoing basis.

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