Cruise safety 'is top priority'


Europe's passenger ship cruise industry will make swift safety changes if any are needed following the Costa Concordia accident, Euro-MPs were told today.

In a letter to a European Parliament transport committee hearing on "Maritime Safety after the Concordia accident", the head of the European Cruse Council (ECC) said passenger and crew safety was top priority and the sector remained "one of the safest recreational industries globally".

ECC chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio pointed out the "extremely low" number of fatalities - only 16 deaths "related to marine casualities" between 2005-2010, during which time cruise lines carried nearly 100 million people.

His letter went on: "There is, however, never any room for complacency and, as the industry has grown, the International Maritime Organisation, the EU and other regulators around the world have updated and further enhanced the safety regime of cruise ships."

Robust international and EU rules currently uphold the highest technical and operational standards of cruise ship design, build, maintenance and operation, he said.

Mr d'Ovidio added: "However, as more details emerge about the Costa Concordia accident, we will be closely examining what changes need to be made to further improve cruise ship safety.

"If it becomes clear that corrective measures are necessary, we will work together as an industry with regulators to ensure that recommended measures are swiftly adopted and applied".

The ECC, representing more than 30 cruise ship companies operating in Europe, has been working with the European Commission on a maritime law review, which EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas announced last week would take into account any lessons from the Italian tragedy.

The Commissioner said the challenge was to ensure that safety rules for passenger ships fully kept pace with the latest designs and technologies.

Today he told the European Parliament committee hearing in Brussels that shipping had an "impressive" safety record despite "intense" levels of traffic.

But he insisted: "Our aim is to increase the effectiveness of the safety rules for passenger vessels on domestic voyages and the operational standards of all passenger ships coming to or leaving EU ports.

"We are considering rules improving the stability of passenger ships after damage or collision, and looking at registration of passengers and evacuation procedures."

Meanwhile the Commission, via the European Maritime Safety Agency, was in regular touch with the Italian authorities and was closely following preparations to remove more than 2,300 tons of fuel oil from the vessel.

Mr Kallas is holding talks within weeks with cruise industry representatives and is hosting a "Safety of Passenger Ships" conference in the Spring.

Conservative MEP Jacqueline Foster warned today hearing against "trial by television and trial by newspapers", concerning the Costa Concordia disaster.

Transport committee chairman and Labour MEP Brian Simpson agreed, warning that it was too easy to "point the finger of blame".

He added: "It is good practice to wait until the official report".


Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
A poster by Durham Constabulary
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
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

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine