One Year After Costa Concordia Tragedy, What's Different?


From that, the most significant change passengers experience is in the muster drill. Musters are mandatory exercises conducted on cruise ships to ensure passengers are informed of safety protocols while aboard the ship, including emergency evacuation procedures. Though the law only requires the safety drill to take place within 24 hours of a ship leaving port, the new policy, voluntarily adopted by all the association's members in February, says the drill will take place before leaving port. In December, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) agreed to incorporate this into the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). While it is not an official regulation yet, it is in the process of becoming a requirement, according to CLIA.

CLIA announced last month that it would continue to focus on safety improvements in 2013. "The industry's commitment to the safety of passengers and crew remains our number one priority," said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA. "The Operational Safety Review was part of our industry's longstanding and ongoing mission of continuous improvement and innovation in shipboard operations and safety. It also was a rededication of our commitment to safety on behalf of the victims and all those affected by the Concordia incident, and the millions of other passengers and crew that sail on cruise ships every year."

There's been a change, too, in passenger attitudes, Brown said. "People used to brag about hiding in the bathroom to get out of going to the muster drill," she said. "What's so great about hiding in a bathroom? People would show up, swigging beers, not paying any attention at all. Now they not only pay attention, but ask questions."

And while there's nothing a passenger could have done to change what happened that fateful night on the Costa Concordia, "the passenger does bear some responsibility for being informed about safety."

A year later, the Costa Concordia remains half-submerged off the Italian coast and draws gawking tourists. Until it's removed, the cruise industry can't completely move forward from the tragedy of Jan. 13, 2012. On Sunday, there will be anniversary ceremonies for the families of the 32 people who died, but the survivors were asked by Costa to stay away, citing "logistics." There's speculation the move is to keep survivors, many of whom are involved in legal action against Costa, away from the media that will inevitably cover the event.

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