According to the head of the International Maritime
Organization (IMO), the world’s largest ships are well regulated and safe, Bloomberg
news agency reported following an interview.
In the wake of the dramatic Costa Concordia casualty nearly
three weeks ago off the coast of Italy, continued coverage by mainstream media
has again put the maritime industry in a harsh light, with everything under
scrutiny: from crew nationality and training procedure; to the Captain’s
reported bizarre behavior before and after the accident; to the increasingly
large size of cruise ships and the ability to evacuate them efficiently and
According to the Bloomberg report, regulators haven’t let
vessels, especially cruise ships, get so large that they present a hazard,
according to Koji Sekimizu, secretary-general of the IMO.
The 290-m Costa Concordia was carrying 4,200 passengers and
crew on a Mediterranean cruise when it struck rocks on Jan. 13 near .
The ship, owned by Carnival Corp., the largest cruise line owner, has berths
for 3,780 passengers, the fourth- biggest by that measure, according to data
from Clarkson Research Services, a division of the world’s largest shipbroker.
The Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, each with 5,400 berths and
owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., are the largest, the data show. The
Norwegian Epic, with 4,200 berths, is third.
Sekimizu: IMO is the for Safety
IMO Secretary-General Sekimizu, speaking at the opening of
the Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG) on January 30, 2012, said
that IMO is the right international body to deal with safety of passenger ships
and, in particular, a safety review after the Costa Concordia accident.
He has included an additional item on “Passenger Ship
Safety” on the agenda of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee, which meets for
its 90th session from 16-25 May this year. This will provide an opportunity for
IMO Members in the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) to consider any issues
arising. He appreciated any initiatives of Member Governments and the industry
to improve safety and encouraged them to put forward their contributions to MSC
These moves come against the background of a raft of safety
measures already under review at the UN agency, including work going on in several
sub-committees to further improve safety measures for ships, including
Given that the safe operation of passenger ships is of major
interest to the international community as a whole, Mr Sekimizu has also urged
all IMO Member States to ensure that their current national safety regulations
and procedures are being implemented fully and effectively, including those
aiming at ensuring safe operations on board.