Preliminary results of the Italian administration’s investigation into the Cost Concordia are expected to be present at the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee, which meets for its 90th session from 16-25 May this year.
Italian authorities allowed the IMO to be represented as an observer on the body overseeing the casualty investigation in order to monitor progress closely and remain abreast of emerging issues, as they arise.
Italy provides for one central commission, the Marine Casualty Investigation Central Board which is under the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, and a number of local commissions dealing with marine casualty investigation. The members of the local commissions are appointed by the harbour masters which, as members of the Coast Guard, are part of the maritime administration; the commission members are partly deployed by the maritime administration through the Coast Guard and partly by experts not necessarily of administrational background.
Italy has no full-time maritime casualty investors but does have four employees who have other duties as well as ad hoc investigators who can be appointed from outside.
Three days after the Costa Concordia tragedy IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu urged Italian authorities to “carry out the casualty investigation covering all aspects of this accident and provide the findings to the IMO under the provisions of SOLAS as soon as possible.”
He has included an additional item on “Passenger Ship Safety” on the agenda of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee, which meets for its 90th session from 16-25 May this year. This will provide an opportunity for IMO members in the MSC to consider any issues arising. Sekimizu has also urged all IMO Member States to ensure that their current national safety regulations and procedures are being implemented fully and effectively, including those aiming at ensuring safe operations on board.
Sekimizu also opened a channel of communication with passenger ship operators through the Cruise Lines International Association,CLIA, immediately following the Costa Concordia accident.
CLIA itself has launched a Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review , the first outcome of which is a new emergency drill policy requiring mandatory musters for embarking passengers prior to departure from port. This new muster drill policy, voluntarily initiated by the associations’ members, exceeds current legal requirements, which mandate a muster of passengers occur within 24 hours of passenger embarkation.
Mre recommendations are expected to follow.