Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2012  
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Lauds Cruise Industry Announcement Requiring Safety Drills on Cruise Ships Before They Leave Port  

After Costa Concordia Crash, Senator Called for Passenger Safety Training Prior to Departure

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today praised the international cruise industry for voluntarily requiring that safety and evacuation training for passengers take place before cruise ships leave port. 

“I am pleased to see the cruise industry is taking this step to ensure that passengers receive this critical safety training before the ship leaves port,” Senator Boxer said. “The Costa Concordia disaster made clear that everyone who boards a ship must be properly trained on what to do in case of an emergency. As a member of the Commerce Committee, I will continue to push for common-sense reforms to strengthen passenger safety.”

Last week, the cruise industry announced a new policy requiring mandatory safety training drills for embarking passengers prior to departure from port. The Cruise Lines International Association, European Cruise Council and the Passenger Shipping Association, which together represent the major passenger cruise lines in the U.S. and Europe, pledged to immediately implement the new policy.  

The Costa Concordia had been at sea for three hours when it ran aground, but according to reports, the crew had not conducted the so-called “muster drill” for the 600 passengers who boarded the ship at Civitavecchia, the port of Rome. The safety drill was not scheduled until the following day. 

In a January 19 letter, Senator Boxer wrote the U.S. Coast Guard requesting that they require muster drills take place while the cruise ship is in port “in a controlled environment.”

She also urged the Coast Guard, as the United States’ representative to the International Maritime Organization, to consider proposing an amendment to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) to strengthen international passenger safety measures in the same way.