USCG: Strong Safety Culture in the Cruise Industry

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) conducted some 292 cruise ship examinations in 2017 and only detained one ship, according to its recently released Cruise Ship Semi-Annual Report.

The USCG stated in the report that the low percentage of detentions shows that there is a strong safety culture in the cruise industry.

While the USCG did not report how many ship examinations it did in total, covering all kinds of ships, it detained 91 vessels overall.

The most common areas of deficiencies aboard cruise ships were fire screen doors that were damaged or not closing properly; bulkheads and decks with improper fire penetration, including missing insulation; and improper utilization of categorized spaces, including storage of combustible materials in spaces that do not have adequate fire protection and suppression systems in case of a fire.

Other common deficiencies were impeded means of escape, where corridors, doors or hatches designated as escape routes were partially or fully blocked; missing or incorrect escape signage and low level lighting; lifeboats and rescue boats that were damaged or inoperable; and launching mechanism that were damaged or inoperable.

Additional deficiencies were fire detection and suppression systems that were damaged or inoperable with sprinkler heads or water mist nozzles painted over or even missing; and crew that were found to unfamiliar with assigned duties and/or emergency equipment.

In nearly all cases, deficiencies were corrected quickly, resulting in only one cruise ship being detained.

The USCG also outlined the alternate compliance program (ACP) for the Pride of America, being the only U.S.-flagged large cruise ship. The ACP ensures that the vessel adheres to all applicable regulatory guidelines and requirements by U.S. law and international requirements, while reducing duplicate examinations and a vessel’s burden of compliance.

While resembling a Foreign Passenger Vessel examination, the USCG said the examination is much greater in scope, and credited a successful inspection to the officers and crew aboard the Pride.

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