I recently read an interesting article discussing a major threat to cruise ship safety. The article discusses that although fires on board a cruise ship have always been considered the major risk while at sea, flooding has also become become a major risk to the safety of those on board a cruise. In fact, according to the article, flooding has actually caused the most serious incidents on cruises. Cutting-edge technology is critical, as the NAPA experts consulted in the article discuss. NAPA provides solutions for ship design and function through software installation. Its software is in fact used to design all new boats. Its goal is to improve safety in the maritime industry. NAPA’s simulations are used as the basis for safety regulations.
Because fires had been historically considered the major risk while at sea, for the last 30 years there has been technology at the bridge of the cruise ship that shows the location of a fire that occurs on the ship so it can be immediately attacked. The article discusses that previously there was not any technology that identified the source of flooding if that became an issue on board the cruise, which is why flooding has become such a safety threat. New technology developed by NAPA is now available which will identify the exact source of the flooding, enabling a much quicker response to the problem. Without this software, there was no way to identify the source of the flooding.
In the past, I have also discussed other available technology for cruise ship companies that is not being utilized, which would alert the cruise ship operator when a person falls overboard the cruise ship, another major risk while cruising. The available technology would enable a much faster search and rescue effort and therefore a better chance of saving the person. Congress was presented with evidence of this technology during Congressional Hearings addressing the numerous overboard incidents occurring on cruise ships. This problem received much closer attention by Congress following the disappearance of George Smith, who went overboard during his honeymoon cruise in 2005 aboard the Brilliance of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.
I represented the family of George Smith in their case against Royal Caribbean Cruises. I was also invited by Congress to appear as a maritime expert at Congressional Hearings to address questions surrounding cruise ship safety and security, including the problem of cruise ship disappearances. These hearings spearheaded additional safety measures being implemented on board cruise ships, and Congress even enacted a law requiring cruise ship companies to adopt the available technology regarding man overboard systems. To date, the cruise lines have not complied, although MSC Cruises has recently announced they are implementing a new man overboard system on board their ships.
The point is there are significant safety risks with cruise ships that need to be guarded against, and the cruise companies need to spend the money for the available technology that assists in guarding against these very serious risks. Hopefully it does no require more disasters and more Congressional Hearings to get the cruise ship companies to implement all the available technology designed to improve the safety of all aboard cruise ships.