The “Costa Concordia” incident will bring about changes in the way cruise liners and their passengers are managed while training programmes will be reviewed and revamped, according to a maritime expert.
Training in crowd and crisis management on board already existed but the grounding of the Italian cruise ship off the Tuscan coast last Friday would lead to the rewriting of safety training programmes, Reuben Lanfranco said.
“Due to the advancement in technology, more sophisticated passenger liners are being built, carrying thousands of passengers. “If the Costa Concordia had to sink in open waters, the casualty rate would have been much higher. “These ships have become too large to evacuate everyone safely. Despite the reported panic, over 4,000 lives were still saved.”
The accident, which has so far claimed the lives of 11 passengers with another 21 still missing, sent alarm bells ringing in the international maritime community, said Capt. Lanfranco. The maritime consultant, former director of the Maritime Institute of the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and a retired captain in the Armed Forces of Malta’s Maritime Squadron added: “Much boils down to the training of the ship’s crew. But it is also about experience in carrying out the evacuation drills and their frequency.
“People learn through repetition. Moreover, a dry drill can be a far cry from reality when facing uncooperative passengers, who are fighting for their lives…”