Major travel disasters are extremely rare and always tragic. But, if the travel industry doesn’t learn from them, they remain but a wasteful loss of lives. This is why finding the black boxes of Air France flight 447, which crashed between Rio and Paris in 2009, was of prime importance. Knowing the cause of the disaster meant steps could be taken to avoid it ever happening again.
So, a little over a month after Costa Concordia sunk just off the Italian island of Giglio, the question is: Has the cruise industry learned anything from the tragedy? Well, judging by last week’s announcement of a new muster drill policy onboard cruise ships, it seems things are moving in the right direction.
Under previous regulations, such drills had to be carried out within 24 hours of the ship setting sail, proving disastrous when Costa Concordia hit uncharted rocks on its first evening at sea. Effective immediately, a muster for embarking passengers will have to be carried out before the ship even leaves port.
Obviously, this new procedure only addresses one of the many issues that led to lost lives onboard Costa Concordia. However, it is also just the first step of the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review that was announced last January, so we can hope for further positive development in the coming months. And, if it will provide little solace to the victims’ friends and family, it will make cruising even safer than it already is.