The Cruise ship industry just announced adoption of new rules. Every single passenger will receive a required safety briefing which must take place prior to the ship leaving port. This newly implement rule may have saved the lives of passengers on the Costa Concordia.
Hundred of passengers aboard the Costa Concordia had not yet undergone the muster drill when the ship crashed into the rocks off the island of Giglio. Until now, the safety briefing had to be given within 24 hours of disembarkation as required by maritime law.
According to the Cruise Lines International Association, this new requirement was voluntarily Nautilus, the seafarer’s union, has recently expressed the problem of actually carrying out a successful evacuation of these very large ships which can carry over 5400 passengers. I too have questioned whether, under current procedures, a safe evacuation can take place on a mega cruise ship that has more than 5000 passengers and crewmembers. I was interviewed on CBS evening news, who did a segment questioning whether passengers on the modern day mega ships can be safely evacuated in case of a disaster such as what occurred with the Costa Concordia.
As can be expected, Carnival Corporation continues to pay attention to the financial impact this disaster will have on them. According to Carnival Corporation, the disaster will decrease its net income in 2012 by $155 million to $175 million. I am sure we all feel sorry for carnival! It upsets me to see so much media coverage about the financial impact on carnival, instead of keeping the focus on the passengers and crewmember, especially those whose lives were lost due to this needless tragedy.
Rivkind and Margulies are Miami based cruise ship and boating accident attorneys. Mr. Rivkind has been handling maritime cases for thirty years. He is past president of the Florida Bar Admiralty Committee, a lecturer and teacher, as well a safety advocate for passengers and crewmembers. He has testified in Congress as an invited speaker and maritime expert.