April 28, 2006
USCG endorses cruise ship fire safety recommendations
The U. S. Coast Guard has issued a safety alert endorsing recommendations to improve fire protection standards in external areas of cruise ships.
The United Kingdom's Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), the lead investigating agency of the fire aboard the cruise ship Star Princess in March 2006, issued a series of recommendations to ensure that external areas of cruise ships meet fire protection standards similar to those in place for internal areas. The International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL), an industry association representing the cruise industry, also made strong recommendations to its members. These recommendations will improve the already extremely high level of fire protection safety afforded to cruise ship passengers and crew.
The Coast Guard safety alert and MAIB and ICCL safety recommendations can be read online at http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/moa/docs/2-06.pdf.
The recommendations include both immediate changes to improve safety procedures aboard cruise ships and changes to international treaties that govern fire safety standards at sea.
The U. S. Coast Guard and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board are participating in the investigation of the Star Princess fire. The Coast Guard regularly inspects all foreign flag vessels that call in United States ports to ensure they meet international standards for safety, including lifesaving and fire safety equipment.