NTSB to Hold Cruise Ship Safety Forum
Due to several unsafe occurrences last year, NTSB has decided to hold a cruise ship safety forum March 25-26.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced it will hold a public forum on cruise ship safety and oversight March 25-26 in Washington, D.C. The "Cruise Ships: Examining Safety, Operations and Oversight" the forum will evaluate regulatory framework, ship design, fire protection, operations, and corporate oversight of cruise ships. The forum also aims to address several high-profile incidents from the recent past.
The forum's goal is to encourage dialogue among industry stakeholders, regulators, and the general public to better understand cruise ship safety and oversight. Members of the U.S. Coast Guard, vessel owners, vessel operators, researchers, and industry groups are expected to attend the forum, which will be free and open to the public. The site is the NTSB Board Room and Conference Center.
The agency will release a detailed agenda prior to the forum.
Last month, the Cruise Lines International Association's president and CEO, Christine Duffy, released a statement after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010's implementation and on the cruise industry's safety practices. "We are pleased the GAO concluded that cruise lines are complying with the requirements of the CVSSA and implementation of the law is progressing as intended. The cruise industry worked with Congress to develop the CVSSA, along with numerous other stakeholders, and supported its passage and enactment into law. Although allegations of serious crime on cruise ships are a small fraction of corresponding rates on land, the cruise industry voluntarily discloses allegations of serious crime to the public so consumers can see for themselves that alleged crimes on cruise ships are uncommon. To our knowledge, no other industry provides this level of transparency.
The GAO report notes that the low rate of alleged crime on cruise ships as compared with land-based crimes can be explained in part by the fact that passengers are in a set environment, all persons and items brought on board are screened, camera surveillance is ubiquitous, and security personnel are present.
"We are pleased that the GAO report highlights the proactive efforts of the cruise industry in keeping with its legacy of continuous improvement in shipboard operations and safety," Duffy continued. "The report recognizes that the industry adopted 10 wide-ranging safety policies in 2012, each of which are mandatory for membership in CLIA, and have been incorporated into International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards. As a result of the industry's relentless focus on passenger comfort and safety, cruising is one of the most enjoyable, affordable, and safe holiday vacation experiences available today."