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Are Cruise Ships Safe?
Are Cruise Ships Safe? From CLIA - Cruise Lines International Association ~ With the continued increase in the popularity of cruise vacations, there has been a similar increased in media attention on cruising. A vast majority of this media is extremely positive and focuses on the great value and new developments of today's cruise vacation. However, occasional news stories regarding ship safety, security and sanitation do occur which may generate questions from your clients and prospects. The U.S. Coast Guard has declared cruise ships operating from U.S. ports to be one of the safest forms of transportation. Because safety -- of both passengers and crew -- continues to be the cruise industry's number one priority, the Cruise Line Coalition offers CLIA affiliates the following points to help respond to customers' potential questions and concerns regarding shipboard safety. Safety Standards All cruise ships must meet standards set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). Ships operating from U.S. ports are also subject to U.S. federal and state regulations. The U.S. Coast Guard inspects all ships sailing out of U.S. ports four times a year. The International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) sets guidelines and mandatory standards for cruise companies seeking or maintaining membership in the association. These standards meet or exceed international and U.S. laws and regulations that apply to cruise ships. Safety Equipment The average cruise ship has: More than 4,000 smoke detectors; More than 500 fire extinguishers; More than 6 miles of fire fighting hose; 5,000 sprinkler heads,400 fire stations or hydrants and sufficient lifeboats and life rafts for more than the number of individuals onboard. In addition, The the average cruise ship has more than 170 fully trained fire-fighting personnel, and many with advanced firefighting training. Emergency and medical crews are only a few hundred feet from any possible incident. This means that the average response time in an emergency is a matter of minutes. Onboard Security A cruise ship is comparable to a secure building with a 24-hour security guard. It is a controlled environment with limited access. Once underway, only documented employees and fare-paying passengers are permitted onboard. In addition, highly trained security personnel are employed on every vessel. U.S. laws protect American cruise line passengers. The FBI and federal authorities investigate and prosecute alleged crimes involving Americans in international waters. According to FBI statistics, cruise ships are safer than virtually anywhere in the U.S. in terms of crimes of any type. Sanitation Sanitation standards on cruise ships far exceed those of any land-based facility. The industry and the U.S. Public Health Service's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have jointly established construction guidelines and operational procedures to maintain those high standards. The cruise industry voluntarily works with the CDC, which oversees health and sanitary conditions on all passenger vessels visiting U.S. ports. Ships are subject to unannounced inspections by CDC officials, concentrating on fresh and drinking water, spa and pool systems, food storage, preparation and service areas, general hygiene, and waste management equipment and facilities. Ships are also periodically rated through the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) and must meet industry standards. The Cruise Line Coalition is a joint communications initiative of the major cruise line organizations: International Council of Cruise Lines Cruise Lines International Association Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association North West CruiseShip Association For more information, contact http://www.cruising.org/