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Carnival to audit safety on nine cruise brands

This item was written by Fran Golden, a cruise expert and Trip Coach for Budget Travel magazine. Golden is serving as Guest Editor of The Cruise Log while USA TODAY Cruise Editor Gene Sloan is away.

In the wake of the Costa Concordia tragedy, Carnival Corp. says it will do “a comprehensive audit and review of all safety and emergency response procedures” across all nine of its brands.

In addition to Costa Cruise Lines, those brands include Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Cunard Line.

Reports from Costa Concordia passengers cite chaos as they tried to evacuate the beleaguered cruise ship. At least 11 people have been confirmed dead.

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Carnival Corp. Chairman Micky Arison, in a prepared statement, says the tragedy “has called into question” the company’s safety practices and emergency response procedures.

“While I have every confidence in the safety of our vessels and the professionalism of our crews, this review will evaluate all practices and procedures to make sure that this kind of accident doesn’t happen again,” Arison says.

To lead the audit, Carnival Corp. is turning in-house to Captain James Hunn, a retired U.S. Navy captain and currently the company’s senior vice president of Maritime Policy Compliance.

A 32-year Navy veteran, Hunn has been with the company for more than a decade in various positions. He will work with senior executives from all the brands to review “all safety and emergency response policies and procedures, officer and crew training and evaluation, bridge management and company-wide response and support efforts,” Carnival says.

Hunn will report to Carnival Corp. Vice Chairman and COO Howard Frank.

The company is also bringing in outside industry experts to review the Costa Concordia accident, specifically.

“This company-wide initiative will identify lessons learned and best practices to further ensure the security and safety of all of our passengers and crew,” Frank says.

Carnival says it also supports an industry-wide call for a comprehensive review of cruise ship safety by the International Maritime Organization.

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