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
Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
Video
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
News
i100
News
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
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

Junior Asset Manager

£25000 - £35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Junior As...

Investment Analyst

£33000 - £40000 Per Annum Discretionary profit share: The Green Recruitment Co...

Graduate / Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £45000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

PMO Analyst - Risk - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Risk - Banking - London - £350 - £4...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?