Passenger Ship Safety Miami: SMS, Life Saving, Mass Rescue

Passenger Ship Safety Miami continued on Wednesday with in-depth day focusing on life saving, safety management systems, crew training, compliance and mass rescue operations.

Royal Caribbean SMS Development

“A well functioning safety management system (SMS) has the type of culture where everyone is inherently involved and takes ownership in safety,” said Captain Mike Ross, director of management systems at Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Ross said SMS must comply with multiple regulations while also planning ahead.

Planning for the future is what the company is doing, as its currently looking to develop a completely new IT platform. Royal Caribbean’s current system dates back to 2001, when it was converted from paper records to electronic.

The Miami-based cruise operator is now looking to develop that further, according to Ross, with a streamlined new system that offers a more efficient workflow and better search functionality.

Life Saving

At VIKING, a life-saving equipment company, highlighted new technology such as the company’s advanced MES (mass evacuation system) which is being matched to a state-of-the-art training program.

The company’s LifeCraft system is housed in an air conditioned container, keeping it away from destructive salt air, said Niels Fraende, vice president of cruise and the LifeCraft division. 

VIKING Chute Evacuation System


He said the company has seen more interest in Polar Code life saving appliance compliance recently, with new requirements involving MES, life rafts, personal and group survival kits.

Rasmus Schmidt, Saatsea global product manager, highlighted VIKING’s new training program, including a competency management system, virtual reality possibilities and regular exams and testing.

Among the challenges, he pointed to different training standards and equipment from place to place, training duration, product specific training and only training one crew rotation.

The company is trying to change that by supporting evacuation training and building up the competence of crew members.

An online training program delivers relevant training modules to various crew based on their role in an evacuation scenario.

Mass Rescue

Commander Phil Bostock, operational lead, overseas territories search and rescue capability, UK Maritime and Coast Guard Agencies, is helping to oversee the country’s ongoing search and rescue capability in its territories around the world.

Bostock must look at existing capabilities in locations like Bermuda or the Falkland Islands, and take into account compliance with international regulations, local policies, precedents and procedures.

“A mass rescue operation is a huge concern,” he said, pointing to a 2015 incident in the Falklands when a cruise ship had to be evacuated with 347 people aboard.

“We were lucky there was a large military presence,” he noted.

Passenger Ship Safety Miami took place Jan. 30 and 31. The next Passenger Ship Safety Miami event is scheduled for January 29-31, 2019.

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