P&O Cruises today welcomed the release of Coroner Jacqueline Milledge?s recommendations following completion of her inquest into the death of Mrs Dianne Brimble and the Coroner?s acknowledgement of the major changes that the company has implemented.
Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which owns and operates P&O Cruises, said the sweeping changes that P&O Cruises had embraced had gone a significant way to strengthen community confidence in cruising as now being a safe and secure holiday environment.
“The highest standards of passenger safety, security and care are now at the heart of our operations and from which there will be no going back,” Ms Sherry said.
“The measures include the responsible service of alcohol, zero tolerance of excessive behaviour onboard, comprehensive security arrangements and the development of international police protocols for the reporting and swift investigation of crimes at sea.”
Ms Sherry said she was pleased that the Coroner?s findings released earlier this week acknowledged Mr Brimble?s goal of securing lasting change as the legacy of Mrs Brimble?s death.
In responding to the Coroner?s specific recommendations, Ms Sherry said P&O Cruises supported in principle the introduction of US-style cruise industry legislation that complemented the reforms that are now in place.
Carnival Australia?s parent company, Carnival Corporation and plc, the world?s largest cruise holiday operator, had embraced the Kerry Act and changes have already been, or are being made, to its global fleet of cruise ships including those in Australia.
Ms Sherry said the recommendation for Australian Federal Police to be on board cruise ships presented some complex jurisdictional issues, which could now be considered by the relevant federal authorities proposed by Coroner Milledge.
However, she also noted that one of the transforming measures implemented at P&O Cruises involved having well trained security personnel on board with effective lines of authority and reporting and professional operating standards.
Ms Sherry outlined measures P&O Cruises had implemented in recent years in the transformation of its operations:
• Comprehensive security arrangements including crime scene preservation and increased security personnel.
• Programs to support passengers and their families (on board and on shore) who are affected by an emergency or traumatising event.
• Responsible Service of Alcohol policies including closing bars in the early hours of the morning and removing staff sales commission for alcohol sales.
• Hundreds of CCTV cameras installed onboard each of its ships.
• A zero tolerance approach to excessive behaviour (removing passengers at the next port and sending them home at their own expense in these circumstances).
• A ban on „schoolies? cruises and creation of a cruise product that appeals to families seeking a relaxing holiday.
“I believe that P&O Cruises has acted decisively on the powerful lessons learned from Mrs Brimble?s tragic death and that the highest standards of passenger safety and security are now at the heart of everything we do,” Ms Sherry said.
“While the release of the Coroner?s recommendations brings the inquest proceedings to a close, as a company, we will continue to build a safe and secure onboard environment so that our passengers can always feel and be confident in sailing with us.
“We are encouraged that Coroner Milledge found that P&O Cruises? timely and appropriate action had eliminated the need for her to make recommendations on many of the issues of concern.”