The circular invites member states to recommend to passenger ship companies to conduct a review of operational safety measures to enhance the safety of passenger ships. It should be emphasised that at present this direction is non mandatory.
The main elements listed for review have been drawn from the operational safety review undertaken by the cruise industry following the ‘Costa Concordia’ accident, and include the following:
1. Lifejackets on board passenger ships, except ro-ro passenger ships Companies owning and/or operating passenger ships, except ro-ro passenger ships, should consider whether to store an additional number of lifejackets in public spaces, at the muster/assembly stations, on deck or in lifeboats, and in such a manner as to be readily accessible to crew members for distribution, as may be necessary, in the event of an emergency such that passengers need not return to their cabins to retrieve the lifejacket stored there
2. Emergency instructions for passengers Companies owning and/or operating passenger ships should review the adequacy of the dissemination and communication of the emergency instructions on board their ships, taking into account the number of languages likely to be understood by the passengers on board
3. Passenger muster policy On a ship engaged on a voyage where passengers are scheduled to be on board for more than 24 hours, it is recommended that the muster of newly embarked passengers should take place prior to the departure at every port of embarkation. In cases where new passengers arrive after the above muster has been completed, they should be promptly provided with individual or group safety briefings
4. Access of personnel to the navigating bridge To minimise unnecessary disruptions and distractions to bridge team members in accomplishing their direct and indirect duties during any period of restricted manoeuvring, or while manoeuvring in conditions that the master or company bridge procedures/ policy deems to require increased vigilance (e.g. arrival/departure from port, heavy traffic, poor visibility), it is recommended that access to the bridge should be limited to those with operational or operationally related functions during these periods. In addition, companies operating passenger ships are recommended to take policy steps to prevent distractions to watch keeping personnel during these periods
5. Voyage planning Companies owning and/or operating passenger ships should take steps to ensure that the ship’s voyage plan has taken into account resolutions A.893(21) ‘Guidelines for voyage planning’ and, if appropriate, A.999(25) ‘Guidelines on voyage planning for passenger ships operating in remote areas’.
Source of information: http://www.imo.org/MediaCentre/PressBriefings/Pages/18-msc-90-passengership.aspx