Passengers must undergo a safety drill before leaving Dubai Passengers must undergo a safety drill before leaving Dubai

New safety measures have been rolled out in Dubai governing cruise ship safety in light of the fatal Costa Concordia disaster last month in which 17 people have so far been confirmed dead.

Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) which regulates the maritime sector in Dubai and Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has ordered that all cruise ships carry out evacuation exercises before leaving Dubai to ensure that the crew is fully prepared in case of accidents. Passengers on board the Costa Concordia had not yet undergone an evacuation briefing before the ship capsized on rocks off the Italian island of Giglio on January 13.

The launch of a new 'cruise ship task force' has also been announced to ensure the safety of all cruise ships arriving in Dubai and to reinforce Dubai’s preparedness to deal with potential maritime accidents.

DMCA said it will step up maritime inspections to ensure that cruise ships comply with standards and to create awareness among ship owners and cruise operators about the need to improve the performance of cruise ships according to best practices in the industry.

Hamad bin Mejren, DTCM Executive Director for Business Tourism, said: “Dubai is keen to adopt best practices related to the safety of cruise ships, in line with international standards and norms. DTCM has partnered with DMCA as part of our commitment to ensure that cruise trips from Dubai will set a global standard in terms of safety and readiness to handle various eventualities, as well as to provide world-class logistical and technical support to the cruise ships.”

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DMCA is cooperating with the Ports Police, Civil Defense, Dubai Ports Security, Customs Security and Free Zones Security, ship agencies, DP World and the National Authority for the Management of Emergencies and Crises to strictly enforce the maritime regulations.

“Safety is very important in the cruise ship industry. For this reason, DMCA constantly works to review and update local laws, to ensure compliance and adherence to best practices and international standards. It is important that all industry stakeholders must work as a team to achieve our goal of putting Dubai on the global maritime map as a safe tourist destination, while enhancing Dubai’s preparedness to face any eventuality,” said Ali Al Daboos, Executive Director of DMCA.