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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor