July 3, 2013

Crucial developments in maritime law recently
emerged that will affect the safety of cruise ship
passengers. In the wake of the cruise ship accident
involving Costa Concordia, IMO’s Maritime Safety
Committee adopted amendments to the International
Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. The 114,000
ton Costa Concordia capsized on January 13, 2012
off the coast of Giglio, Italy after striking underwater
rocks, taking the lives of 32 people. As part of the
Committee’s amendments, SOLAS regulation III/19
will require the mustering of newly embarked
passengers prior to or immediately upon departure.
According to existing safety regulations,
passengers had to muster within 24 hours. These
lifeboat safety amendments should take effect on
January 1, 2015.

Additional safety measures intended for cruise
ships and passenger ships include Maritime Safety
Committee 1/Circ.1446/Rev.2, which relates to the
harmonization of bridge navigational procedures
across a fleet of vessels. Furthermore, the safety
committee’s measures call for heavy objects to be
secured. The hazard of heavy objects traveling
across decks and hitting and injuring passengers as
a result of severe rolling of a vessel was made clear
in the July 2008 heeling accident involving the cruise
ship Crown Princess. The 113,000 ton cruise ship
experienced rolling motions exceeding 20 degrees
after an officer disengaged the automatic steering
controls from the integrated navigation system and
proceeded to steer the vessel manually. Fourteen
passengers were injured by objects that slid or fell
from their original fixed positions, as a result of the
severe list induced by the steering condition
(National Transportation Safety Board Investigation).

Additional safety measures include provisions for
the stowage of life jackets near muster stations and
extending the use of video for passenger emergency
instruction notices. Also included are the following
of voyage planning guidance in the event of any
deviation. Specifically relating to the accident
involving the cruise ship Costa Concordia, the
Maritime Safety Committee invited Italy to provide
more information regarding recommendations for
double-skin hulls for protecting watertight
compartments containing equipment. The
committee also updated the long term action plan
for passenger ship safety.

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