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Costa Cruises announces new safety initiatives

By CNN Staff
updated 5:37 PM EDT, Mon May 7, 2012
At least 30 people were killed in the January Costa Concordia accident.
At least 30 people were killed in the January Costa Concordia accident.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New Costa safety rules allow crew members to issue orders
  • Guest safety training will be tracked electronically
  • Access to a ship's bridge will be limited during critical navigation phases

(CNN) -- Costa Cruises introduced seven new safety measures over the weekend during a ceremony celebrating the delivery of the company's new $665 million flagship.

A new real-time route monitoring system, electronic tracking of guest safety training and changes that will allow more crew members to issue orders, are among the initiatives being adopted by the company in the wake of the Costa Concordia disaster.

Under the new rules, Costa cruise guests will receive emergency training before the ship leaves port and officers in uniform must be present during safety training. "This ensures the training has proper solemnity and gives guests an opportunity to ask any questions or express concerns they might have directly with an officer," Costa said in a document outlining the new procedures.

At least 30 people were killed when Costa Concordia ran aground on January 13 off the shore of the Italian island of Giglio. Some survivors complained that they had not been instructed in emergency procedures. International regulations require that passengers receive instruction within 24 hours of departure. In February, three cruise industry associations announced new standards exceeding that rule by requiring muster drills before leaving port.

Under Costa's new rules, guests will receive an electronic card to be scanned during safety drills. Guests who miss the initial training will be tracked electronically and invited to attend training the following day. Guests who do not attend either session will receive written safety guidelines.

Officers will be more involved in decision making under a new bridge management model. "According to the new model, the Captain maintains intervention power as required by law, but is no longer the only person who issues orders," the Costa document said.

The Concordia's captain, Francesco Schettino, remains under house arrest while he is investigated for possible criminal charges. He faces allegations of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck, abandoning ship and failing to report the accident.

Costa will also limit access to a ship's bridge during critical navigation phases, following a standard established by Cruise Lines International Association last month, and a new monitoring system will allow Costa to control the position and course of all of its ships in real time.

The cruise line's new ship, Costa Fascinosa, was delivered in Venice on Saturday, along with sister ship Costa Favolosa. Costa Fascinosa, a $665 million ship that can carry up to 3,800 passengers, is the largest Italian-flagged cruise ship afloat.

"The delivery of the Costa Fascinosa is an important stepping stone on our Company's road to recovery," Costa CEO Pier Luigi Foschi said.

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