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A ship is its ‘own best lifeboat’

by Lloyd's List last modified Jan 18, 2012 11:47 AM

The Costa Concordia grounding comes 19 months after amendments to existing international passenger ship safety regulations came into force.

Adopted by the International MaritimeOrganization, the amendments introduced in July 2010 were designed to improved survival rates, presenting a ship as “its own best lifeboat”.

The amendments to passenger-ship regulations in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea came about after a review of passenger-ship safety initiated in 2000 by the IMO.

The changes mainly affect ships built from July 1 2010 onwards. Costa Concordia, built in 2006, would have complied fully with earlier amendments.

Among the regulations, which could face a further IMO review, are two important elements relating to evacuation procedures and lifeboat boarding.

The rules state that a ship engaged to carry passengers on board for more than 24 hours needs to conduct “musters of the passengers...within 24 hours after their embarkation”. This appears to confirm that Costa Concordia acted within the rules.

When it comes to survival craft and rescue boats, the amendments state: “All survival craft required to provide for abandonment by the total number of persons on board must be capable of being launched with their full complement of persons and equipment within a period of 30 minutes from the time the abandon-ship signal is given”.

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