Surprise Inspections Introduced for Cruise Ships
The U.S. Coast Guard’s port state control officers will conduct unannounced examinations on a number of cruise ships for the remainder of 2014. The purpose of this program is to increase oversight of cruise ships, considering the inherent risks associated with carrying large numbers of passengers at a significant distance from response assets.
These examinations will be short in duration, and are designed to avoid delaying a cruise ship’s schedule unless deficiencies that impose inherent danger to the safety of passengers or the crew are discovered.
The unannounced examinations will be separate from the normally scheduled Certificate of Compliance annual and periodic exams. The examinations are designed to obtain a snapshot of the condition of the vessel at a time when the Coast Guard would not normally be onboard. During these examinations, port state control officers will conduct a walk-through of portions of the deck, galleys and machinery spaces (not the entire vessel) to spot check for obvious personal safety issues including, but not limited to: fire hazards; condition of fixed fire detection and firefighting equipment; condition of fire boundaries; condition and availability of lifesaving equipment; and/ or problems with means of escape such as locked doors in escape routes or restricted paths in stairways.