Cruise bosses stress safety of ships

 

The cruise industry sought to reassure concerned members of the public about the safety of ships today as divers resumed the search for 21 people still missing after the Costa Concordia capsized.

Industry executives stressed that safety is the number one priority of cruises and said incidents such as this are extremely rare.

Speaking at a Passenger Ship Safety Association briefing, Christine Duffy, president and chief executive of the Cruise Lines International Association, said: "All cruise ships must be designed, built, operate and maintained and meet requirements of international law.

"The cruise industry is heavily regulated in compliance with the strict standards of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the UN agency that mandates global standards."

Ms Duffy called on the IMO to undertake a comprehensive evaluation from the findings of the Costa Concordia investigation so that lessons can be learnt from the disaster.

Costa Cruises, the company that owns the stricken liner, which ran into a reef and capsized last Friday, confirmed it is contacting all surviving guests to make sure they have returned home safely and to offer a refund for the cruise and all expenses relating to it.

A statement from the company said: "Costa Crociere also reiterates that it is in contact with its guests and all consumer protection associations to determine indemnity for the hardship endured, with the support of the tour operator association of each country.

"Costa Cruises confirms both the constant commitment and care it devotes every day to safety and its dedication to relations with the guests who represent the company's most important asset, as they have done for more than 60 years.

"Costa Cruises would like once again to express its great sadness over the victims and its support for their families."

Eleven people have so far been confirmed dead and the 21 missing included a five-year-old Italian girl and her father.

Questions have been raised about why the safety briefing, which would have informed passengers how to respond in an emergency, was not due to happen until the Saturday, after the ship was wrecked.

Speaking at the briefing, Captain William Wright, Royal Caribbean International's senior vice president of marine operations, said it was rare for safety drills to happen after the ship has left harbour.

He said: "It is clear in the vast majority of departures, passenger safety drills occur prior to the ship letting go of its lines and leaving the dock. There have been examples, as this was the case, because of the late time of the departure, the drill was elected to be done the following day, which is in keeping with existing international regulations.

"Undoubtedly that is a practice that will come under some scrutiny in the weeks and months to come."

The £292 million ship was carrying 4,200 passengers and crew when it capsized after the captain made an unauthorised diversion from his programmed route.

Captain Francesco Schettino has been placed under house arrest and faces possible charges of manslaughter causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship.

When asked about the saying that "a captain goes down with his ship", Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey, chief executive of the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said there was no basis for this in international law and said in many cases it may not even be the most appropriate step to take.

"It is more myth than reality," he said.

Captain Wright said such a law was "unwritten".

He said: "It goes without saying that, being a captain myself and knowing my colleagues in my company and others I have worked in, it is an unwritten rule or law of the sea and I find it hard to understand circumstances, although I can speculate what those circumstances might be, why that might not be the case.

"We know far, far too little at this point to speculate why the captain of the Concordia, if this is the case, left the ship prior to everyone having been evacuated."

At the briefing, at the Millennium Hotel in Kensington, west London, Dr Allen denied bigger ships were less safe than smaller ships.

He said: "Big ships give you the flexibility for other safety initiatives that you cannot have on smaller ships. You actually have a better platform to organise better platforms to improve the survivability of the ship."

Captain Wright added: "Life saving appliances are tooled to the size of the ship so the size isn't a factor."

The executives stressed how heavily regulated the industry is and the extensive training both the captain and ship's staff undergo.

PA

Suggested Topics
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Technical Software Consultant (Excel, VBA, SQL, JAVA, Oracle)

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...

SQL DBA/Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer SQL, C#, VBA, Data Warehousi...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering