The global cruise industry has adopted three new safety policies to be implemented immediately, the European Cruise Council and CLIA announced this week.
The new policies address issues related to passage planning (the route the ship takes), personnel access to the bridge and the number of lifejackets carried onboard.
Additional lifejackets required
In addition to the requirement that ships carry enough lifejackets for each person onboard, a new policy requires ships to carry additional lifejackets. The number of additional lifejackets must be no less than the total number of persons berthed within the ship's most populated main vertical fire zone.
This ensures that the number of lifejackets carried is far in excess of the number of persons actually onboard the ship.
New passage planning requirements
Although cruise lines have followed International Maritime Organization guidance on passage planning, the new policy deems IMO guidance to be a mandatory minimum requirement.
Furthermore, under the policy each passage plan is to be drafted by a designated officer, approved by the master and thoroughly briefed to all bridge team members "well in advance" of its implementation.
More limited bridge access
Under the new policy, bridge access is limited to those with operational functions during any period of restricted maneuvering or when increased vigilance is required.
Agents’ response to policies
Agents are relatively unconcerned with the new policies as they're not major talking points for selling cruises.
"None of those issues would be something clients need to know," Sharon Emerson, owner of Cruise & Tour Planners in Seattle, told Travel Market Report. "I don’t think these “new rules” will be a talking issue."
But Mary Ann Strasheim, ACC, owner of Custom Cruises & Travel said the life jacket policy could be a talking point.
"None of these policies will mean much to first-time cruisers except knowing that there will be more lifejackets on the ship than there are people. The others will really not be understood by first-timers, but to be able to tell them that cruise lines have taken new steps to insure safety will be good."