Maritime Safety Committee agrees to Passenger Safety recommendations with Advice from CLIA
The International Maritime Safety Committee (the MSC) just met for its 90th session at the Organization's London headquarters from May 16 to 25, 2012. As the first IMO meeting since the Concordia tragedy, there was a particular significance. While many of the topics had already been in contemplation and discussion for years - some were brought to the forefront most expeditiously.
One of the first adopted resolutions of the committee, aimed at enhancing the safety of passenger ships, was to strongly recommend that Member States (that belong to the IMO) should urge passenger ship companies flying their flag to conduct a review of operational safety measures "with all possible urgency and efficiency."
The recommended measures going forward include:
• Carrying additional life jackets, to be readily accessible in public spaces, at the muster/assembly stations, on deck or in lifeboats, so that in the event of an emergency passengers need not return to their cabins to retrieve the life jacket stored there.
• Reviewing the adequacy of the dissemination and communication of the emergency instructions on board ships.
• Carrying out the muster for embarking passengers prior to departure from every port of embarkation, if the duration of the sailing is 24 hours or longer.
• Limiting access to the bridge to (only) those with operational or related functions, during any period of restricted maneuvering, or while in conditions that the master or company deems to require increased vigilance (e.g. arrival/departure from port, heavy traffic, poor visibility).
• Ensuring that the ship's voyage plan has taken into account IMO's Guidelines for voyage planning, and, if appropriate, guidelines on voyage planning for passenger ships operating in remote areas.
The adoption of the resolution included the consideration of preliminary proposals on enhancing passenger ship safety brought to the Committee's attention by a special group formed by CLIA (the Cruise Lines International Association) in the United States.
The Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review delegation was led by Budd Darr, director of technical and regulatory affairs for CLIA, and it submitted safety recommendations, derived by CLIA and the European Cruise Council,which included the practice of conducting musters for each newly boarded passenger prior to departure from port - already in operation by CLIA and ECC member cruise lines.
In a statement about the MSC session, IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu welcomed the 'appropriate and timely actions in response to the loss of the Costa Concordia.'
The MSC also approved, for adoption at MSC 91 (the next meeting of the IMO), new draft SOLAS requirements (regulation III/17-1) to require ships to have plans and procedures to recover persons from the water, as well as related Guidelines for development of plans and procedures for recovery of persons from the water. The MSC also approved a draft MSC resolution on Implementation of SOLAS regulation III/17-1 to ships other than those engaged in international voyages.
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