DORAL (CBSMiami) – Stunned by a clear failure of evacuation and emergency procedures when it’s Costa Concordia foundered off the Tuscan coast, parent company Carnival Cruise lines announced Thursday that it would examine those procedures across the board, for every cruise line it owns, and even bring in outside help.
Carnival, based in Doral, is the largest cruise line operator in the world, It owns Costa Cruise lines, which operated the ill-fated Concordia, and other well known lines like Cunard, Princess, and Holland America. The company operates more than 100 ships across it’s different lines.
“This tragedy has called into question our company’s safety and emergency response procedures and practices,” Carnival CEO Micky Arison said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.“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 effort will be led by the company’s senior vice president of Maritime Policy & Compliance, Captain James Hunn, will lead the review. Capt. Hunn spent 32 years in the Navy, and nearly a decade with Carnival overseeing health, safety, and security procedures.
Hunn will work with the health and safety officials of each of the company’s lines to examine all of the company’s procedures, officer and crew training, and company response efforts, and report both to Carnival’s board and to Carnival Chief Operating Officer Howard Frank.
But the company said it’s examination and audit would not be limited to a review only by Carnival officials. Instead., Carnival’s board will be bringing on outside experts to do their own reviews of the company’s emergency response, as well as a review of the Concordia accident.
Following reports that the ship’s captain delayed calling for an evacuation and left the ship while passengers were aboard, as well as claims by passengers of rampant confusion during the evacuation efforts, the International Maritime Organization requested called Thursday for a comprehensive review of cruise ship safety procedures, which are governed by International law. Cruise Lines International Organization, the industry trade and lobbying group, had requested that review, and Carnival said in Thursday’s statement that it supports that call.
The stock for Carnival, which is Miami-Dade county’s eighth-largest employer, is slowly recovering from a sharp drop Tuesday, the first day of tradind after the Concordia disaster.
Earlier in the day, Carnival announced that it stepping back from communicating with fans and customers via social media, saying it was concentrating on responding to the accident and its victims.