In the wake of the COSTA CONCORDIA tragedy, the cruise industry has been scrambling to save face. Recently, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the European Cruise Council (ECC) announced three new safety policies, which include:
- Only allowing authorized individuals on the bridge when the captain is dealing with a potentially risky situation
- Planning a ship’s course ahead of time and communicating it to all bridge team members
- Having more life jackets on the ship than passengers
While these new policies make good sense, the recent announcement begs the question: Why weren’t these policies already in place? Did it really take 32 people dying in the COSTA CONCORDIA disaster for the cruise industry to decide that maybe cruise ships should be required to have more life jackets onboard than people? Did it really take 32 families losing their loved ones in a cruise ship accident for the cruise industry to mandate pre-planned routes? Shouldn’t it have been obvious before the COSTA CONCORDIA tragedy that unauthorized persons on the bridge might be distracting to the captain and cause mistakes to be made?
In addition to these new safety policies seeming like too little, too late, the even bigger issue is that the CLIA and ECC really have no way to enforce them. The CLIA and ECC are both cruise associations, not government agencies with regulatory authority. Hopefully the COSTA CONCORDIA disaster will serve as a wakeup call to the cruise industry, and cruise lines will voluntarily adhere to these new policies. However, until national and international maritime laws are updated, cruise lines may or may not make any changes.
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