CLIA view April edition
Joel Katz, managing director, CLIA Australasia
Questions of safety and security
Following on from our previous column in travelBulletin dealing with onboard health questions, this edition we will focus on Safety and Security in order to assist you to better address your clients’ questions about some of the major news stories affecting our industry.
As travel agents, you are on the front line with consumers, and in a world of internet access and a 24- hour news cycle, it’s important that you have factual answers to your customers’ questions, and are able to reassure them that cruising remains a wonderfully safe holiday option.
While any safety or security incident aboard a cruise ship is extremely unlikely, for CLIA cruise lines a safe and secure cruise ship environment is paramount, and our cruise line members have no higher priority than the safety of guests and crew.
With the advice and consent of its cruise line members, CLIA advances policies intended to enhance shipboard safety and security, in some cases calling for best practices in excess of existing legal requirements. Annually, the chief executives of CLIA oceangoing cruise line members verify their line’s implementation of every CLIA policy.
Although any sort of crime onboard a cruise ship is exceptionally rare, unlike any comparable industry ashore, CLIA’s cruise lines are subject to strict legal requirements for the reporting of crimes onboard cruise ships. Serious incidents are to be reported to the ship’s flag State, and are also to be reported to local law enforcement.
While CLIA cruise lines make every effort to deter criminal activity on board their ships, ship security staff are prepared to effectively respond to any alleged incident. Cruise Lines take a zero-tolerance approach to any excessive behaviour that affects the enjoyment of other passengers, and take a strict approach to the responsible service of alcohol, including preventing under-age drinking.
CLIA policies identify steps to be considered in response to a security incident, and how to effectively preserve incident evidence for investigation by proper law enforcement authorities, the safety and wellbeing of all involved persons, and victim assistance and support as appropriate.
A frequent question for first time cruisers is about the risk of falling overboard. All cruise lines adhere to strict rules for minimum railing and balcony heights, as well as structural barriers, and it is almost impossible for someone to fall overboard if they are not climbing the railings.
You can also reassure your clients that cruise ship accidents are very uncommon. All cruise ships (regardless of where they sail) operate under international rules, known as Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which regulate everything from fire safety to navigation and maritime security, and as such are subject to annual audit by the ship’s independent class society.
More information to help you address your clients’ questions on a variety of topics can be found on the CLIA website www.cruising.org.au