Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the European Cruise Council (ECC) are pleased with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) decision to approve incorporation of the cruise industry’s recommendation for the mandatory muster of passengers prior to departure from port in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). This anticipated regulatory change would be incorporated in SOLAS, which provides comprehensive mandates on safety equipment and procedures for ships. The global cruise industry announced this measure with immediate effect on February 9, 2012, as part of the Global Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review that was launched in January.
Additionally, the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) incorporated three other policies from the Global Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review during its meetings in London, held November 26 to 30. The three policies address the loading of lifeboats by crewmembers for training purposes, the recording of passenger nationality, and the common elements of musters and emergency instructions. They are now included in IMO guidance specific to Passenger Ship Safety and have been implemented via industry-wide policies.
“The global cruise industry appreciates and shares the unyielding commitment of the IMO, its Secretary-General, the Maritime Safety Committee and the 170 IMO member States around the world to continuously enhance the safety of passengers and crew — our industry’s number one priority,” said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA. “Ongoing innovation in safety has been a hallmark of the cruise industry for decades. We remain fully committed as an industry to building on our rich heritage of leadership in improvement of shipboard operations and safety.”
“We welcome the decision by the IMO to incorporate key recommendations from the Global Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review into the SOLAS,” said Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, ECC Chairman. “The IMO’s decision to incorporate our recommendations into SOLAS, including our February 2012 decision to introduce on a voluntary basis the mandatory muster of passengers prior to departure from port, is an endorsement of the cruise industry’s approach to continuous safety improvement. It demonstrates how we as an industry are proactively achieving concrete, practical and significant safety dividends in the shortest possible time. We look forward to continuing to work with the IMO to secure further safety improvements in the future wherever there is scope to do so.”
At the meeting, the IMO put forth immediate actions to enhance passenger ship safety, with the Global Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review the source of many of the items. The Review includes a comprehensive assessment of the critical human factors and operational aspects of maritime safety and the development of comprehensive best practices for industry-wide implementation.