Cruise Line Regulators Adopt New Safety Measures Designed To Provide Enhanced Information To Passengers During Crisis

Approximately six months ago, the world was shocked when Carnival cruise ship Costa Concordia, crashed into the rocks off the coast of Giglio Island, Italy, resulting in the deaths of thirty two individuals and injuries to dozens of others. Carnival and ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, took heavy criticism for the botched evacuation efforts, which involved suffered from significant delays, allegations of bribery, and the captain’s early abandonment of the ship.

In response to the problems that plagued the Costa Concordia’s evacuation attempt, the European Cruise Council (“ECC”) and the Cruise Lines International Association (“CILA”) have adopted new safety policies designed to target two issues, evacuation and tracking of passengers during crisis situations. According to ECC and CILA leaders, the new measures will guarantee superior handling of passenger safety in instances of cruise ship accidents such as that of the Costa Concordia.

The first of the new policies, dubbed the Common Elements of Musters and Emergency Instructions, is intended to provide passengers with information as to how to proceed in the event of a crisis. The policy requires that cruiselines provide passengers with emergency instructions that include twelve common elements:

When and how to put on a lifejacket.
Where to find a lifejacket.
A description of emergency signals how to respond in an emergency situation.
The appropriate location to gather, or muster, when an emergency signal is sounded.
How to account for passengers for training and actual emergency purposes.
A description of the ship’s key safety systems and features.
How information will be relayed to passengers during an emergency situation.
What to expect during an evacuation of the ship.
Additional safety information that is available to passengers.
Identification of ship personnel to ask for additional information.
Whether passengers should return to their cabins prior to mustering, including specifics regarding medications, clothing, and lifejackets.
An account of emergency routing systems and how to identify emergency exits.

The second policy, titled the Nationality of Passengers Policy, requires that passengers be counted prior to departure, that the ship keep records of those passengers who have stated a need for special care or assistance in an emergency, that the ship keep a list of the names and gender of all persons on board, differentiating between adults, children and infants, and that all information be kept ashore and made readily available to search and rescue services.

Despite enhanced safety measures and new policies designed to ensure passenger safety, cruising can be a risky activity. Cruise ship accidents are becoming more and more common, rendering the rendering the need for experienced legal counsel for those injured in such accidents increasingly important. As this blog has mentioned before, because cruise ship accidents are subject to different laws and much shorter statutes of limitations, sometimes as short as one year, they are best handled by experienced cruise ship accident attorneys.

The Florida cruise ship accident attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. are licensed to practice law in all of Florida’s state and federal courts and has been representing the victims of cruise ship accident for over four decades. If you or someone you know has been injured in a cruise ship accident, contact the attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today.

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