Apr 262012

Costa Concordia : IMO is watching

Three new safety policies have been issued by Cruise Lines International Association, CLIA, and the European Cruise Council  to be implemented with immediate effect. Covering passage planning, access to bridge and lifejackets, the policies are the third product of a safety review following the Costa Concordia disaster.

Chairman of the European Cruise Council (ECC) and Member of the CLIA Executive Committee, Manfredi Lefebvre. says: ”

Speaking at a major European Commission-organized Passenger Ship Safety event in Brussels, he outlined how these policies have been agreed to by the industry and represent the third such announcement arising from the cruise industry’s Operational Safety Review.

These three new policies, which go beyond even the strictest of current regulatory requirements, address issues related to passage planning, personnel access to the bridge and lifejackets.  Each of these three policies will be reported to the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization for consideration at its next session in May.

The three policies govern:
1)    Passage Planning – Although cruise lines have followed IMO guidance on passage planning for many years, our policy now deems this to be a mandatory minimum requirement and enhanced by endorsement of the best practices contained in the International Chamber of Shipping’s Bridge Procedures Guide.  Furthermore, under this policy each passage plan is to be thoroughly briefed to all bridge team members well in advance of its implementation and it is to be drafted by a designated officer and approved by the master.

2)    Personnel Access To The Bridge – To minimize unnecessary disruptions and distractions on the bridge, we have adopted a policy that bridge access is to be limited to those with operational functions during any period of restricted manoeuvring or when increased vigilance is required.

3)    Lifejackets – In addition to the statutory requirement of carriage of lifejackets for each person onboard, we have adopted a policy of carrying additional adult lifejackets onboard each cruise ship in excess of these legal requirements so 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 reviewed by CLIA’s recently-announced panel of outside maritime and safety experts which is evaluating suggested policy improvements as part of the association’s continuous efforts to review and improve safety measures by developing comprehensive best practices for industry-wide implementation and ultimately, formal submission to the International Maritime Organization, as appropriate.

The new policies follow the industry’s announcement on January 27 of an Operational Safety Review in response to the Concordia incident and as part of the industry’s continuous efforts to review and improve safety measures, and represent the third such announcement. The previous two related to the new Muster Drill Policy (February 9, 2012) and Enhanced Reporting Requirements to Ensure Consistency, Transparency of Marine Casualty Data (March 21, 2012).

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