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“Safety is journey rather than destination” – Goldstein

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

In latest blog posting on the Internet,Adam Goldstein, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, says thatsafety is a journey rather than a destination and he called the Costa Concordiaaccident a defining moment for the cruise industry.

“The Costa Concordia accident is a definingmoment in the history of the modern cruise industry. We will need the resultsof the authorities’ investigations to truly understand and respond to all ofthe implications. But we do not need to wait for anyone or anything to underscorethe preeminent role of safety in the daily life of every cruise ship and of theindustry as a whole.

By coincidence, half of our Captains andmost of our Hotel Directors arrived in South Florida for our annual FleetOperations leadership conference over the weekend. This gave our ChairmanRichard Fain and me a timely opportunity to underscore both our excellent 42year safety record and more importantly to emphasize the imperative of keepingour record intact into the future.

There are many aspects of safety. Althoughwe are proud of our people, processes and technology in all areas of safety, wemust review them all again, especially recruiting, training, guest musteringand evacuation. We have considered and prepared for very many scenarios. Now weneed to broaden the range of scenarios even further.

In the upcoming weeks we will communicateby text and video about many of the key elements of safety. Many readers whoknow us well will not be surprised by our focus on and commitment tosafety.  Those who have less experiencewith us should learn some interesting and compelling facts about how we prepareour ships and crew for safe operation every day.   For example, the rigorous preparation andongoing training that every Captain in the Royal Caribbean International fleetmust undergo.

Safety is a journey rather than adestination. We need to operate safely now yet constantly improve our safety.We need to hunt for lessons learned in every minor incident or accident. Weneed to apply those lessons learned across the fleet ASAP. This is a neverending cycle. As our Chairman Richard Fain says, there is no such thing asperfect safety but there is such a thing as perfect dedication to safety. Westrive to be true to that concept.

The process of continuous improvement insafety is evident in our fleet. The newer ships are beneficiaries of decades ofnaval architectural progress.  They arealso beneficiaries of the development of the requirements that ships must meetunder the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Where wehave clearly succeeded with new approaches, such as the e-mustering procedureson Oasis-class ships, we are in the process of retrofitting the fleet wherepossible.

Global, regional, national and localauthorities are going to review with increased intensity all regulationsrelated to cruise ship safety. We enjoy strong and positive relationships withthe IMO, U.S. Coast Guard, Flag states, Port states and innumerable otherauthorities around the globe. We look forward to working with them to make thesafety record of modern cruising even stronger than it already is.

I often thank the men and women of RoyalCaribbean International for the great job they do delivering Gold AnchorService and the “Wow” to over three million guests per year. Implicit in thatappreciation is recognition of their dedication to the safety of our guests andtheir fellow crew. It seems appropriate now to make my appreciation explicit aswell as to remind all of my colleagues shipboard and shoreside that ourvigilance must encompass every drill, every training, every voyage plan, everyanalysis of incidents/accidents and every day of ship operations.

My thoughts and prayers are with those whohave been directly affected by the tragic accident on Costa Concordia.”

Compensation battle around Costa Concordia starts

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Some 70 passengers of the stricken cruise ship Costa Concordia have joined in class action against Costa Crociere, the Carnival Corp & plc unit that owns the vessel. However, legal experts say that chances of bringing compensation cases up in courts in the US are meager, according to media reports.

"Over 70 passengers who were on board the ship have joined the class action suit initiated by our association," said Carlo Rienzi, head of the Italian consumer rights group Codacon said in a statement. "Our objective is to get each passenger at least €10,000 compensation for material damage and also for ... the fear suffered, the holidays ruined and the serious risks endured," he said.

The New York Times reports that Costa’s contract states that the line will pay no more in cases of death, personal injury and property loss than about $71,000 per passenger. “It allows no recovery for mental anguish or psychological damages. It bars class-action suits,” the report said.

For cruises that do not involve a United States port, such as the seven-night western Mediterranean itinerary of Costa Concordia, the contract states, any litigation must be brought in Genoa, Italy, where the headquarters of Costa Crociere are located, and be governed by Italian law.

But when it comes to liability, the contract says the company can take advantage of any limits set by international treaties or the laws of the United States, which are very generous to owners of vessels. If there is a conflict among the patchwork of laws and treaties regarding liability, it says, “the Carrier shall be entitled to invoke whichever provisions provide the greatest limitations and immunities to the Carrier,” New York Times reports.

Carnival Corporation & plc announces comprehensive audit and review of safety and emergency responses across all its cruise lines

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Following the tragic Costa Concordia accident, Carnival Corporation & plc, parent company of Costa Cruises and nine leading cruise lines around the world, today announced a comprehensive audit and review of all safety and emergency response procedures across all of the company’s cruise lines.

Carnival Corporation & plc and the cruise industry as a whole have maintained an excellent safety record over the years. "However, this tragedy has called into question our company’s safety and emergency response procedures and practices," said Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. "While I have every confidence in the safety of our vessels and the professionalism of our crews, this review will evaluate all practices and procedures to make sure that this kind of accident doesn’t happen again."

The review is being led by Captain James Hunn, a retired U.S. Navy Captain and currently the company’s senior vice president of Maritime Policy & Compliance. Following a 32-year career in the Navy, Hunn has held senior positions at Carnival Corporation & plc for nearly a decade, focusing on corporate-wide efforts to establish maritime policy standards, while overseeing the company’s health, environmental, safety, and security practices.

Hunn and senior health and safety executives from each of the lines will review all safety and emergency response policies and procedures, officer and crew training and evaluation, bridge management and company-wide response and support efforts. Hunn will report to the Health, Environment, Safety & Security Committee of the Board, and to Howard Frank, vice chairman and chief operations officer of Carnival Corporation & plc.

In addition, the Health, Environment, Safety & Security Committee is engaging outside industry-leading experts in the fields of emergency response organization, training and implementation to conduct an audit of all of the company’s emergency response and safety procedures and to conduct a thorough review of the Costa Concordia accident.

Frank said, "This company-wide initiative will identify lessons learned and best practices to further ensure the security and safety of all of our passengers and crew."

Carnival Corporation & plc also supports the call for a comprehensive evaluation of safety regulations by the International Maritime Organization, which was requested earlier today by the Cruise Lines International Association.

Costa Cruises and Carnival Corporation & plc reiterate commitment to support Costa Concordia passengers and crew

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Costa Cruise Lines and its parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc, yesterday confirmed their commitment to provide full support to those passengers, crew and families of the victims of the Costa Concordia grounding.

"I give my personal assurance that we will take care of each and every one of our guests, crew and their families affected by this tragic event. Our company was founded on this principle and it will remain our focus," said Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc.

In this spirit, Costa has been arranging lodging and transportation for affected passengers and crew members to return home. Every passenger and crew member or their family is being contacted and the company has offered its assistance and counseling as needed, and will be addressing personal possessions lost on board. Costa has also begun the process of refunding all voyage costs including both passenger cruise fares and all costs incurred while on board. Our senior management teams are working together to determine additional support.

"During this time of tragedy, we are doing our very best to provide the needed support to the Costa Concordia passengers, crew and their families," said Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman and CEO of Costa Cruises.

Three way approach to enhance safety seen after Costa Concordia

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Calls for improving safety of passenger vessels after the Costa Concordia disaster is likely to lead action on three levels, speakers at a news conference in London called by Cruise Lines’ International Association (CLIA), European Cruise Council (ECC) and Passenger Shipping Association(PSA) said.

On the international level, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will be the key platform and Italy, the flag state of Costa Concordia, is likely to come up with its own proposals and recommendations in the near future, said dr. Tom Allan, permanent representative of the UK in the IMO, the United Nations’ maritime organisation that has its headquarters in London.

Secondly, passenger shipping industry organisation themselves are likely to review safety questions and thirdly, individual cruise shipping companies are also likely to see what can be done to enhance safety further.

While it will probably take years before any new safety measures introduced by IMO would take effect, those initiated on the company and industry organisation level can be introduced sooner, Allen continued.

Allen also pointed out that large vessels in themselves are good from safety point of view, because they allow designers more freedom in arranging watertight sub-division than smaller ships. Design of evacuation systems also enjoys the same flexibility, Allen said, pointing out that large vessels are in the lead when it comes to innovation and development of safety on board cruise ships.

The panelists did not want to discuss Costa Concordia in particular as investigation to the causes of the accident is in progress. The discussion did not touch human error aspects in accidents, factor that appears to have played the greatest role in this case, but focused more on matters of technical and new safety nature in general.

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