Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/314313
16 Proceedings Summer 2014 www.uscg.mil/proceedings What you have just witnessed is not a casino or mall, but the sights, smells, and experiences that are now common on cruise ships. These vessels ply the waters all over the world, embark millions of passengers, and the companies that operate them actively compete to make their guests' time aboard a truly unforgettable experience — one that will have them booking subsequent trips and recommending the vessel to their friends and family. As the industry evolves, more unique cruise ship arrange- ments such as ice skating rinks, water slides that propel guests over the side of the ship and through the vessel's stacks, atriums the size of football fields, zip lines sus- pended 100 feet above exterior amusement parks, and even proposed environment-friendly improvements such as the use of liquefed natural gas as a source of fuel, will push the bounds of traditional design parameters. While cruise ship operators are understandably attentive to adding new, exciting, and ever-more innovative entertain- ment activities, the U.S. Coast Guard must focus on one cen- tral question: Are these vessels designed to operate safely? The Age of Regulation The most notable maritime tragedy, the Titanic sinking and subsequent loss of more than 1,500 lives, became the impe- tus for the frst international action to protect life at sea. The 1914 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) focused on structural subdivision and stability as well as lifeboat suffciency and capacity. In 1934, the Morro Castle suffered a cargo hold fre that rap- idly spread to the passenger spaces, resulting in the death of 124 persons. This incident led to passenger vessel struc- tural fre protection regulations in 1940, which were subse- quently incorporated into a 1948 SOLAS revision. A further tragic loss of 88 passengers and two crew members occurred aboard the Yarmouth Castle in November 1965, after a store room fre raged and spread throughout the vessel. These two catastrophic fire-related incidents provided further momentum to establish regulatory requirements to protect passengers and crew. With the 1966 Fire Safety Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, the Coast Guard made cruise ship safety one of its highest priorities. In 1968, public law required the Coast Guard to verify that foreign passenger vessels complied with the 1966 fre safety amend- ments. As a response, the Coast Guard created the Control Verification Examination (CVE) Program and published Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular 2-68 Fire Safety Standards for Foreign and Domestic Vessels, which set pol- icy on how to perform fre safety examinations on foreign passenger vessels. In 1983, new public law required the Coast Guard to verify that all foreign passenger vessels embarking passengers in U.S. ports comply with all SOLAS conventions. In August 2004, Congress passed an amendment that extended the CVE program to foreign cruise ships that make a U.S. port call with U.S. citizens as passengers, regardless of where the passengers embarked the vessel. By conducting vessel plan review, examinations during construction, and follow-up examinations while the vessel is in operation, the Coast Guard verifes that the vessel's design maintains substantial compliance with international requirements and U.S. law. The U.S. Coast Guard as Regulator Many modern cruise ship designs meet U.S. Coast Guard interpretations of SOLAS, since these ships participate at some point in their service life in the U.S. cruise market. In support of the CVE program, the Coast Guard Marine Safety Center (MSC) provides the technical engineering oversight from the preliminary design proposal to the deliv- ery of the cruise ship, as well as review of modifcations to existing cruise ships, ensuring compliance with appropriate international standards and Coast Guard interpretations of those standards. This includes: • holding concept meetings, • conducting plan review, • attending the structural fre protection examination and Initial Certifcate of Compliance Examinations, • training Coast Guard foreign passenger vessel examin- ers, • developing Coast Guard guidance on international reg- ulations. This onboard waterslide passes through structural boundaries. U.S. Coast Guard photo by LCDR Brent Yezefski, Marine Safety Center. Summer2014_22.indd 16 5/13/14 9:45 AM