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Cruise CEO: Costa accident a ‘defining moment’

The head of one of the world’s largest cruise lines is calling this month’s Costa Concordia accident a defining moment in the history of the modern cruise industry.

“We will need the results of the authorities’ investigations to truly understand and respond to all of the implications,” Royal Caribbean International CEO Adam Goldstein writes on his blog in a post focused on ship safety. “But we do not need to wait for anyone or anything to underscore the preeminent role of safety in the daily life of every cruise ship and of the industry as a whole.”

Goldstein says that, by coincidence, half of the company’s ship captains and most of its hotel directors were in Florida last week for the company’s annual Fleet Operations leadership conference, which gave him and Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain “an opportunity to underscore both our excellent 42 year safety record and more importantly to emphasize the imperative of keeping our record intact into the future.”

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Goldstein writes that while the company is proud of its people, processes and technology in all areas of safety, “we must review them all again, especially recruiting, training, guest mustering and evacuation. We have considered and prepared for very many scenarios. Now we need to broaden the range of scenarios even further.”

In coming weeks, Royal Caribbean will communicate to cruisers by text and video about many of the key elements of safety on its ships, Goldstein says.

“Safety is a journey rather than a destination,” he writes. “We need to operate safely now yet constantly improve our safety. We need to hunt for lessons learned in every minor incident or accident. We need to apply those lessons learned across the fleet ASAP. This is a never ending cycle.”

Noting the company was looking forward to working with local, regional, national and global authorities in the wake of the accident to improve the safety of cruise ships, Goldstein also sent a message of renewed vigilance to the company’s thousands of employees around the globe.

“It seems appropriate now … to remind all of my colleagues shipboard and shoreside that our vigilance must encompass every drill, every training, every voyage plan, every analysis of incidents/accidents and every day of ship operations,” he writes.

Goldstein is the first top executive of a major line other than Costa to speak publicly about the Jan. 13 accident, which resulted in the deaths of at least 15 passengers.

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