MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The sinking of the Costa Concordia owned by a unit of Doral-based Carnival Cruise Lines is forcing cruise companies to take a second look at safety, including adopting new rules about lifeboats and access to the bridge.
Currently, international regulations dictate the number of lifeboats and life rafts each ship must carry. There must be enough lifeboat seats for every passenger and crew member, with an extra margin for safety.
New regulations approved this week by the Cruise Lines International Association and the European Cruise Council require members of the organization to add lifeboats in excess of those required, effective immediately.
Also imposed on members are restrictions about who can have access to the bridge at critical times in the ship’s voyage. Routes for voyages would be charted in advance, and shared with all members of the ship’s bridge team.
Already in place are new rules requiring a lifeboat and safety drill to talk place before a ship leaves ports. That’s a greater standard that international law, which requires a drill within 24 hours.
When the Concordia ran aground off the coast of Gigli in Italy the lifeboat drill had not been held, possibly contributing to the confusion during evacuation.
Not every cruise line is a member of the two organizations, but most including the world’s largest lines are.
Carnival has hired a South Florida company to salvage and remove the Concordia from its watery grave. 32 passengers and crew were killed in the January 13th accident.