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".

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
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 General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn