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Costa Concordia Owners: New Ship And New Rules
The Costa Concordia's owner has brought in new safety measures for its ships, including real-time tracking of routes and limits on its captains' absolute authority - as its biggest liner was launched.
The measures are aimed at ensuring there is no repeat of the tragedy in which 32 people died, parent company Costa Crociere said.
Emergency safety training will now be given to passengers before the ships leave port - and a monitoring system will identify anyone who have not attended and encourage them to do so.
Many passengers on the Concordia complained they had not received safety evacuation training, even though they had boarded the ship days before.
New bridge procedures stipulate that the captain is not the only one who issues orders; now members of his team can also take part in making decisions, particularly during special navigation procedures like pulling into port.
Passengers on the Concordia said the captain had delayed the evacuation alarm for nearly an hour after the initial grounding until the ship was listing so perilously that lifeboats could not be lowered down.
The Concordia captain, Francesco Schettino, is under house arrest, accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship before all passengers had been evacuated.
He is accused of taking the ship off its charted course to bring it closer to Giglio in an apparent "flyby". He claims the reef he hit - identified on all tourist maps of Giglio - was not on his nautical charts.
Costa has said Schettino's route change was unknown to the company and unauthorised.
To ensure such a manoeuvre does not happen again, Costa says it is launching a fleet-wide monitoring system that allows the company to follow the routes of its vessels in real-time and pinpoint the exact location of each ship to detect any unexpected changes in course.
The measures have been announced as the cruise company, which is owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp, unveiled the latest addition to its fleet: the £415m Costa Fascinosa, with a capacity of 3,800 passengers and now the largest Italian-flagged cruise ship.
Costa chairman and outgoing chief executive Pier Luigi Foschi said the delivery of the Fascinosa was an important step in the company's recovery from the Concordia disaster and overall economic crisis.
He said: "Costa has bounced back and booking volumes are back to the same levels recorded this time last year, ahead of our own expectations."