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Costa Concordia prompts safety review

Ship safety regulations are to be tightened following the Costa Concordia disaster.

But it could be many months before some of the regulations take effect.

Safety drills and lifeboat loading are among the measures announced by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

A total of 32 lives were lost when the Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia turned on its side after striking rocks off the Italian coast in January 2012.

The IMO's maritime safety committee, meeting in London, has agreed that rules to require passenger safety drills to take place prior to, or immediately upon, departure should be made mandatory in the wake of the Costa Concordia incident.

The committee approved draft amendments to a section of the international Safety of Life at Sea convention to require musters of newly-embarked passengers prior to or immediately upon departure.

This is instead of "within 24 hours", in current regulations, for a ship on a voyage where passengers are due to be on board for more than 24 hours.

It will not be until June 2013 the draft amendments, which will now be circulated for consideration, will be considered at the committee's next meeting.

It may not be until the end of 2014 that the new measure will come into force

These revised recommended measures include:

lAdditional guidance on common elements to be included in passenger muster and emergency instructions;

lThat the nationality of each person on board should be recorded;

lGuidance on lifeboat loading for training purposes;

lCompanies owning and/or operating passenger ships and the ship's master should take steps to ensure that changes to the voyage plan are consistent with company policies.

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