The Costa Concordia accident is 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. 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.
By coincidence, half of our Captains and most of our Hotel Directors arrived in South Florida for our annual Fleet Operations leadership conference over the weekend. This gave our Chairman Richard Fain and me a timely 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.
There are many aspects of safety. Although we are proud of our 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 the upcoming weeks we will communicate by text and video about many of the key elements of safety. Many readers who know us well will not be surprised by our focus on and commitment to safety. Those who have less experience with us should learn some interesting and compelling facts about how we prepare our ships and crew for safe operation every day. For example, the rigorous preparation and ongoing training that every Captain in the Royal Caribbean International fleet must undergo.
Safety is a journey rather than a destination. 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. As our Chairman Richard Fain says, there is no such thing as perfect safety but there is such a thing as perfect dedication to safety. We strive to be true to that concept.
The process of continuous improvement in safety is evident in our fleet. The newer ships are beneficiaries of decades of naval architectural progress. They are also beneficiaries of the development of the requirements that ships must meet under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Where we have clearly succeeded with new approaches, such as the e-mustering procedures on Oasis-class ships, we are in the process of retrofitting the fleet where possible.
Global, regional, national and local authorities are going to review with increased intensity all regulations related to cruise ship safety. We enjoy strong and positive relationships with the IMO, U.S. Coast Guard, Flag states, Port states and innumerable other authorities around the globe. We look forward to working with them to make the safety record of modern cruising even stronger than it already is.
I often thank the men and women of Royal Caribbean International for the great job they do delivering Gold Anchor Service and the “Wow” to over three million guests per year. Implicit in that appreciation is recognition of their dedication to the safety of our guests and their fellow crew. It seems appropriate now to make my appreciation explicit as well as 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.
My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been directly affected by the tragic accident on Costa Concordia.