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Publication Title | ITF CRUISE SHIP SAFETY POLICY

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ITF CRUISE SHIP SAFETY POLICY

INTRODUCTION

The ITF Cruise Ship Safety Policy reflects the additional measures required as a result of the great number of passengers and crew carried and builds upon the other ITF policies addressing maritime safety issues. The policy document should be regarded as a living document and lays down the demands of the seafarers’ trade unions in regard to what they consider to be essential minimum standards for the protection of the safety of life at sea and the marine environment. In addition to a number of design and equipment issues, the human element aspects are of particular concern since there is a need to adopt a holistic approach. The human element aspects are integral to the safety of ships and vessels which are deficient in these aspects should also be considered as being unseaworthy. Therefore, there should be an adequate number of suitably qualified and medically fit seafarers who are familiar with their duties and the layout of the particular vessel, who share a common working language and are adequately rested and not impaired by fatigue. The seafarers should also be able to communicate with the passengers and be able to assist them in emergency situations. The seafarers should be familiar with the company’s safety management policy.

The ITF defines the term seafarers as every person employed or engaged in any capacity on board a ship. This definition is complementary to the definition of a passenger which is contained in Regulation 2 of Chapter I of the SOLAS Convention; it states that a passenger is every person other than the master and the members of the crew or other persons employed or engaged in any capacity on board a ship on the business of that ship.

The trade union demands are determined on the basis of the requirements which should be applied to new cruise ships and those which should also be applied retroactively to existing vessels, it being clearly understood that all human element and operational issues apply equally to both new and existing passenger vessels.

CONCERNS New Ships

The current trend within the industry is for new cruise ships to be larger and to carry an increasing number of passengers, with a larger ship’s compliment to cater for their needs. The 1995 SOLAS Conference suggested that the recommendatory time for the evacuation of a ro-ro passenger vessel should be within 60 minutes of the abandoned ship signal being given (Conference Resolution No. 4). It is suggested that 30 minutes is more realistic and that a similar standard should be adopted for all passenger vessels with a requirement that the design of new passenger ship ensures that such a requirement can realistically be met.

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