Cruise ships introduce mandatory pre-departure safety drills
CRUISE holidaymakers will now need to take part in pre-departure safety drills, in a review of safety procedures following the Costa Concordia disaster.
The Cruise Lines International Association, European Cruise Council and Passenger Shipping Association said the muster drills would now be obligatory on their ships before departure.
The announcement followed a review of safety measures prompted by the grounding of the Italian ship.
The Costa Concordia, which belongs to the US-owned Carnival Corporation, foundered off the Tuscan coast on January 13, causing the deaths of at least 17 people.
In a joint statement, the cruise ship associations said: "The formal policy is designed to help ensure that any mandatory musters or briefings are conducted for the benefit of all newly embarked passengers at the earliest practical opportunity."
They also pointed out that the new initiative "exceeds legal requirements."
Current legal guidelines under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea decree only that a muster drill should take place within 24 hours of embarkation.
If passengers arrive after the muster has been completed, they will be obliged to carry out individual or group safety briefings.
The new policy is effective immediately.
A full copy of the new rules can be viewed here: http://www.cruising.org/regulatory/cruise-industry-policies