The global cruise industry have announced a new emergency drill policy requiring mandatory muster for embarking passengers prior to departure from port.
Musters are mandatory exercises conducted on cruise ships to ensure passengers are informed of safety protocols while onboard the ship, including emergency evacuation procedures. Current legal requirements for conducting a muster of passengers under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) rules, require that a muster occur within 24 hours of passenger embarkation.
The new muster policy follows a Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review undertaken by the Cruise Lines International Association, European Cruise Council, and the Passenger Shipping Association, in response to the Costa Concordia accident on 13 Jan. It has been voluntarily initiated by the associations’ member cruise lines and is effective immediately.
The policy also addresses the rare occasions when passengers arrive after the muster has been completed. In this case they will be promptly provided with individual or group safety briefings that meet the requirements for musters applicable under SOLAS.
The new policy was widely anticipated by cruise industry and passenger associations after it turned out that at the time of the accident almost 700 Costa Concordia guests, who had boarded only hours earlier at Civitavecchia, hadn't yet had any safety briefing. Their muster drill, under SOLAS rules, had been scheduled for the following day.
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