Large ships no more dangerous than smaller ones, says panel



Experts discussed cruise passenger safety

A panel of cruise safety experts has rejected claims that a larger ship poses more danger than a smaller one.


Speaking at a press conference in London today, Tom Allan, chairman of ICAS said one type of ship was just as safe as another. 


“It’s easy to jump to the conclusions but safety standards have kept up with the pace of growing size of ships,” added Sir Allan Massey, chief executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. “We are in touch with what the industry is going and the risks within these changes”.  


During the conference, the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) led calls for cruise ship safety regulations to be reviewed once investigations into Costa Concordia have been completed. Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA said the International Maritime Organization (IMO) should look into evacuation procedures, drills and training and consider recommendations based on past cruise ship incidents. 


“There will be an opportunity for bodies to put forward initiatives and the IMO can the debate and provide new regulation if they see fit,” added Tom Allan. “Ship operators will also look at their own lessons and procedures, but internationally it will take a few years for new regulation to come through [if it is to happen]”. The review could include looking at the training and instructions given to all cruise ship staff and how lifeboats are used.


With just 50 cruise-related deaths in the past decade out of a total carriage of more than 120 million passengers and crew, Concordia’s incident is a rarity and the panel often reminded the industry it is heavily regulated with comprehensive training and competence certification. However, they did say that the notion of the ‘captain going down with the ship’ is largely a myth. “Individual companies may have their own policies but internationally there is myth that applies to that notion,” explained Massey.

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