Carnival Auditing All Lines' Safety, Emergency Response Procedures

The company announced its senior vice president of maritime policy and compliance, Capt. James Hunn, will lead the review.

Carnival Corporation & plc, parent company of Costa Cruises and nine cruise lines in all, has begun what it described Jan. 19 as "a comprehensive audit and review of all safety and emergency response procedures across all of the company’s cruise lines" following the Costa Concordia grounding off the Italian coast. Thirteen people had been confirmed dead as of Jan. 22 as divers continue to search the capsized vessel.

The company's announcement said it and the cruise industry as a whole have maintained an excellent safety record over the years. "However, this tragedy has called into question our company's safety and emergency response procedures and practices," said Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. "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."

Hunn is a retired U.S. Navy captain who has held senior positions with Carnival for nearly a decade after his 32-year career in the Navy, and the company said he has focused on corporate-wide efforts to establish maritime policy standards while overseeing health, environmental, safety, and security. He and senior OSH executives from each cruise line "will review all safety and emergency response policies and procedures, officer and crew training and evaluation, bridge management and company-wide response and support efforts," then Hunn will report to the Health, Environment, Safety & Security Committee of Carnival's board and to Howard Frank, vice chairman and chief operations officer of Carnival Corporation & plc.

The audit is being done by "outside industry-leading experts in the fields of emergency response organization, training and implementation" -- the announcement did not identify any of them -- who also will conduct a thorough review of the Costa Concordia accident, according to the company. "This company-wide initiative will identify lessons learned and best practices to further ensure the security and safety of all of our passengers and crew," said Frank.

Carnival said it supports the call for a comprehensive evaluation of safety regulations by the International Maritime Organization, which was requested Jan. 19 by the Cruise Lines International Association.

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