Passenger Ship Safety Miami: Key Industry Topics In Focus

Passenger Ship Safety Miami 2018 kicked off this week with cruise line executives, major suppliers, class societies, public agencies and regulatory bodies coming together for a two-day conference event.

With an expanding global cruise fleet, the human factor and crew training were key topics when it comes to all aspects of cruise ship safety. Technology is racing ahead onboard, from video detection to passenger tracking. There are also new LNG-powered cruise ships coming, which bring with them their own set of new challenges.


Carnival Cruise Line has recently launched a new firefighting training program in partnership with Marioff, provider of the HI-FOG firefighting system that deploys a water mist.

“We felt the need to have specific, detailed training on the full functionality of the systems,” said Martina Gallus, director deck and safety assets, Carnival Cruise Line.

A training team is going ship by ship, with training taking anywhere from five to seven days. Crew then take an exam and are awarded a certificate if they pass.

The training is scheduled twice annually per ship and a crew member’s certificate must be renewed every three years, said Gallus.

“Our focus is to develop strong, robust and reliable training firefighting,” she added.

Joska Taipale, manager, training and technical support for Marioff, said the program consists of both classroom and hands-on training.

Carnival Vista

“The fire protection system is not a system the crew normally uses,” Taipale said.

With an installation base counting thousands of ships, Taipale said the training is specific to each ship’s HI-FOG system and each crew member’s role in the firefighting operation.

Up to 200 crew have been trained per ship, according to Taipale.

Big R&D

Gerry Ellis, director of safety and OHS policy at Carnival Corporation, said the company not only shares safety information and data between its own brands, but with other cruise companies.

With a fleet of 104 ships, Carnival has ample opportunity to test new technology, which is backed up by a strong corporate safety culture.

“Within the last five years we have spent the price of a new ship on systems being installed on our fleet that go well above compliance,” Ellis said. “It’s about being open and honest, and also being fortunate enough to test these systems. We have leadership that’s willing to spend the money on research and development.”


With equipment on some 400 commercial LNG ships, GTT is involved in every aspect of LNG in the maritime world, including design, construction, operations, maintenance and upgrades, said Aziz Bamik, general manager, GTT North America.

Among the challenges, he pointed to tank space requirements, which can take up around two more times the space than traditional fuel tanks to store the same volume.

The AIDAnova will be the first cruise ship to sail on LNG.

“You have to balance the fact you need more volume and will lose cabins,” said Bamik. “(Cruise lines) will need to come up with the right solution to minimize the loss of cabins while having the best, most efficient fuel system. Space is really the main challenge.”

The company is involved in a number of self-propelled LNG bunkering barge projects, in addition to cruise ship newbuilds that will run on LNG.

Crew training is another key area for GTT.

“We purpose-built a training simulator for a specific LNG barge,” noted Bamik. The company can also offer a 24/7 hotline for emergencies

Human Factor

Captain John W. Mauger, commanding officer of the United States Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Center, said the agency visits each cruise ship newbuild two times.

The first visit is between six and 12 months before delivery, while a second visit is more comprehensive and scheduled around final certifications.

Mauger noted newbuild cruise ships were increasing in complexity. Regulations like safe return to port have made the ship its own lifeboat, but have also introduced new technologies.

“We know that complex systems fail in complex ways,” Mauger said. “It’s not sufficient for us to put the technology aboard and then not drive those lessons and understandings into the crew members.”


Joep Bollerman, operations manager, passenger ship support centre, Lloyd’s Register, said that almost all engine room fires could be traced back to oil or fuel spray on hot surfaces.

Among the factors to mitigate that, beyond crew training and detection, he said many companies were putting in additional fuel cut-off valves to give crew more options to isolate the fuel supply.

Firefighting Training

“Training and drills need to be more than a check in a box,” he added. “There needs to be a more formal evaluation. The drill needs to be as realistic as possible.”

Michael O’Donnell, executive director, FAA, office of accident investigation and prevention, pointed to the agency’s partnership with airlines and suppliers, working together to solve operational and safety issues. With many parallels to the maritime world, O’Donnell presented Aviation Safety Infoshare, which aims to improve aviation safety.

Attendance at Passenger Ship Safety Miami was up year-over-year, with the second annual Passenger Ship Safety Miami conference seeing a notable increased in attendees.

The next Passenger Ship Safety Miami event is scheduled for January 29-31, 2019.

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