Originally Posted by Arion
I've been having a few thoughts, about making cruising safer. It's kinda split into two sections; (a) preventing a disaster like this, and (b) ensuring that if this happes in future there are no casualties.
1: GPS Monitoring at Head Office
Costa have reported that the Captain was not authorised to sail so close to the island. I think that if there was a GPS transponder, reporting the ships location to head office, and the Captain had to answer for such deviations from course, then the Ship would have been much less likely to have been anywhere near the rocks.
2: GPS Monitoring compared to Navigation Charts
In this case, the GPS would monitor the ships position and velocity (including direction of movement), cross-referenced with the location of rocks, linked to a rotating light and bell in the bridge, might have dropped a hint to the Captain that steering the ship away might have been a good idea.
3: Working Lifeboats
Lifeboats shouldn't be designed for use in perfect conditions. It's actually in the most dire, and unpredictable circumstances that they're needed. Every shipboard employee, before they start their second contract should have gone through every imaginable ship movement, and weather condition on a simulator similar to ships actual movement. Similarly designers should use these simulators to see foresee problems launching the lifeboats.
4: Multi-function lifejackets.
Lifejackets already have a light ( and I believe a whistle ) for attracting attention. I think these should be enhanced with a transponder to help track down lifejackets instead of divers having to search cabin by cabin. If possible, I'd also like to see a feasibility study into including mini oxygen tanks in the lifejackets.
5: Safe Room
I think each Cabin should have a water tight safe room, with oxygen, food, water and communications equipment, where passengers trapped in their Cabins could take refuge.
I think all cruisers should have to watch an engaging, and interesting safety video ( that they're likely to pay attention to ), before the ship leaves port.
What do you folks think?
1) Feasable, but some reports have said that the impact happened mere minutes after the course deviation.
2) Could be interesting. Might be something to look at.
3) Davits can only extend so far. Not really sure where they could go with this one, but I am sure designers will be looking at it.
4) Now this one makes some sense. RFID is wonderful technology that could be utilized in a situation like this. With a caveat. There has to be a way to know that there is a person in the life vest before the chip starts transmitting. Otherwise divers would be finding every life vest on the ship. I am sure some kind of activation circuit based on the buckle would work. As for oxygen ... first it wouldn't be just O2. It would be a fairly standard mix of our breathable air. A basic "pony tank" could possibly give upwards of 30m of breathable air in an unpaniced person. Reduced when there is panic of course. But could this be enough time to make it out safely? Hard to say, but still something to consider. *Lots* of effort will have to go into inspection and maintaining of these pony tanks tho.
5) Seriously? And where do you propose to make this "room" inside of a 185 square foot cabin?
6) Doesn't matter how interesting it is, people that are going to ignore it will still ignore it. Happens on airplanes all the time, even airlines like Southwest that try and make it more entertaining.
Will things change because of this? Certainly. I can imagine that SOLAS standards might change to state that lifeboat drills must be conducted before the ship leaves port. There has been a lot of confusion on this one with some media outlets reporting that USCG requires this to occur before sailing. I sailed Costa (On the Atlantica) in 2009 out of Fort Lauderdale. Our lifeboat drill happened the second day. I was with a group of seasoned cruiser travel agents and they all commented on how odd it was, but still within SOLAS requirements of 24 hours.
What makes things more difficult with a sailing like the Concordia is that it would seem that she was embarking and disembarking passengers at numerous ports as she sailed around Europe. No true beginning and end like we are accustomed to here in the US (I'm guessing Passenger Service act as a reasoning for this).