At the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meeting which took place in May 2012, several interim recommendations to enhance the safety of passenger ships were agreed following the “Costa Concordia” grounding in response to submissions made by the Government of Italy and other interested parties. The measures were summarised in MSC.1/Circ.1446 “Recommended Interim Measures for Passenger Ship Companies to Enhance the Safety of Passenger Ships”.
Resolution MSC.336(90) was also adopted inviting Member States to encourage companies operating passenger ships flying their flags to review their operational safety measures on a voluntary basis “with all possible urgency and efficiency”, taking into consideration the recommendations set out in the MSC circular. The recommended interim measures include:
- Carrying additional lifejackets, 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 lifejacket 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 is 24 hours or more;
- Limiting access to the bridge to those with operational or operationally related functions, during any period of restricted manoeuvring, or whilst manoeuvring in conditions that the master or company bridge procedures/policy deems to require increased vigilance (e.g. arrival/departure from port, heavy traffic, poor visibility); and
- 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.
Resolution MSC.336(90) also urges “Member States and the passenger ship industry to take the necessary actions to ensure that their current safety standards, procedures and best management practices are fully and effectively implemented”.
Members operating passenger vessels are therefore advised to review their operational safety measures at the earliest opportunity, taking the foregoing recommendations into account when doing so.
Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention department.