Cruise Industry's New Safety Drill Policy - Too Little, Too Late

Swamped from a tide of bad publicity following the Costa Concordia disaster, the cruise industry today announced a change to its safety drill policy.  The new policy?  Hold your breath:

All cruise lines will begin to provide a safety briefing to the passengers before the vessel sets sail. 

That's it?  Why wasn't this the law a hundred years ago, after the Titanic sank?

This should convince even the most hard core cruise fan that there is something seriously amiss Costa Concordia Cruise Chaosin the world of cruising when almost a month after the Concordia disaster, the cruise lines have finally proposed such a basic safety policy.

This should also reveal how lax the policies are under the International Maritime Organization ("IMO").  The IMO rules (suggestions I say) suggest that cruise ships can wait up to 24 hours after passengers embark to hold a safety briefing.  It's difficult to justify such an unsafe policy which undoubtedly caused or contributed to deaths of some of the Concordia passengers.  But what can you expect from an United Nations organization?  

The cruise industry has announced this simple common-sense policy with great fanfare.  USA Today's pro-cruise blog CruiseBlog quotes a cruise agent praising the new policy which was revealed in a joint statement by the Cruise Lines International Association, the European Cruise Council and the UK"s  Passenger Shipping Association. 

Notwithstanding the new cruise line voluntary policy, the IMO "rules" still permit waiting until 24 hours to have a muster drill.  And if the cruise lines don't follow their own voluntary agreement?  There is no consequence. 

Just what the public needs, a trust-us promise from an unregulated cruise industry which should not be trusted.  

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OceanGeorge - February 10, 2012 5:46 AM

All cruises should be prepared for the worst at all times. new drills and procedures would be useful. something new for lifeboats to be used easier!

ANDREW HORNE - February 11, 2012 9:44 AM

I have cruised on Carnival 7 times in the last 5 years and there was not ! time that the ship didn't do a very long extensive drill BEFORE the ship left the dock. We were on Carnival Fantasy Jan 30th for a 5 day cruise. They were very thorough in explaining the drill and the process of evacuation should it come to that. I feel very safe on a Carnival ship. As a captain on my own boat I take safety very seriously. I count the life boats when I get on the ship !st thing. The powered life boats on Fantasy counted 3000 heads. There are 2100 peopel on the ship. That doesn't include the rubber rafts in the barrels THAT HOLD ANOTHER 1000 PEOPLE. Thats enough boats on one side of the ship to handle every passenger. That makes me feel safe.

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