MARCH 25, 2014 — The Paris MOU Secretariat says that a crack down on cruise ships and other passenger vessels carried out in the wake of the Costa Concordia incident showed "reasonable overall compliance with SOLAS requirements for passenger ships, both from an operational point of view and hardware."
However, it says, the Harmonized Verification Program (HAVEP) carried out between 1 January 1, 2013 and December 31 underscores the importance of regular realistic fire and abandon ship drills on passenger ships.
Preliminary results from the program show that wo passenger ships were detained over the 12 month period as a direct result of the HAVEP for deficiencies related to operation control and emergency preparedness.
In 19 out of 232 inspections (8.19%) a deficiency was recorded against a fire drill and in 20 inspections (8.62%) a deficiency was recorded against an abandon ship drill.
"The two main areas of concern on a passenger ship are fire and flooding and if the situation escalates out of control the ship must be able to be safely abandoned. The results of the HAVEP indicate that masters and operators must pay attention to carrying out regular realistic fire and abandon ship drills," says Patrick Dolby, head of the Inspection Operations Branch of the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCGA) and leader of the Paris MoU Task Force for the HAVEP.
The HAVEP questionnaire was completed during 232 inspections on 225 individual ships.
A total of 130 HAVEP-related deficiencies were recorded. Analysis of the recorded deficiencies shows that most deficiencies relate to abandon ship drills (8.62%), conducting fire drills (8.19%), closing devices/watertight doors (7.76%) and SAR co-operation plan for passenger ships (7.76%). Other deficiencies relate to the fire control plan (5.17%), evaluation of crew performance (training fire drills) (4.74%) and the muster list (4.31%).
Most inspections were carried out on ships under the flags of Bahamas with 67 inspections, Malta with 40 inspections and Turkey with 24 inspections. The flags with HAVEP-topic related detentions were Bahamas (1 detention) and Malta (1 detention).