While the large majority of passengers and crew were successfully evacuated from the ship, there were injuries and loss of life. While accidents like this one are extremely rare in cruising, the tragedy led the cruise industry to review its safety practices and find opportunities for improvement.
Less than a month after the Concordia’s accident, the cruise industry announced a new emergency drill policy that requires muster station drills to be held for embarking passengers before ship departs. This policy exceeds legal requirements, which mandate a muster drill within 24 hours of the ship’s departure. Muster drills ensure that passengers are informed of essential safety procedures, including procedures and routes for emergency evacuation of the ship.
More new safety policies developed by the cruise industry include:
· Mandatory requirements for passage planning
· Greater restrictions on access to the bridge
· Increased quantities of life jackets on board
· Recording passengers’ nationalities (information that can help search and rescue personnel)
· Twelve common elements in the safety instructions given to passengers during muster drills
All of these new policies exceed current regulatory requirements, in keeping with the cruise industry’s longtime commitment to passenger and crew safety.
Christine Duffy, chief executive officer of the Cruise Lines International Association, hopes the industry can prevent an accident like the one suffered by the passengers and crew of the Concordia from ever happening again. And, she reminds travelers that cruising remains one of the safest forms of travel.
“Amid all of this activity and interest lies one central question: are cruise ships safe?” said Duffy. “The answer is resoundingly yes. Evidence clearly shows that compared to virtually any other form of mass recreation or travel, cruises are one of the safest activities around. In the five years before the Concordia incident, more than 100 million people took a cruise, with 16 casualties worldwide due to marine accident or collision. The cruise industry takes safety very seriously.”
Talk with your Cruise Holidays travel professional about any concerns you may have about safety on your next cruise.
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