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Disasater prompts new cruise policies

In response to the fatal wreck of the Costa Concordia in January, the organization that represents the cruise industry announced a list of new safety policies last week.

They include: having more lifejackets aboard ships than are required by law; limiting access to a ship's bridge at potentially dangerous times; and requiring cruise ship routes to be planned in advance and shared with all members of the bridge team. All are effective immediately.

Two of those policies are directly related to errors believed to have led to the Concordia grounding and capsizing. Captain Francesco Schettino is accused of taking the ship on an unauthorized path too close to the Italian island of Giglio while he was reportedly distracted by guests on the bridge.

The Jan. 13 wreck killed 32 passengers and crew. Schettino is under house arrest and faces charges that include manslaughter and causing a shipwreck.

The new policies, announced in Brussels by the Cruise Lines International Association and European Cruise Council, came about as a result of a safety review launched following the Concordia wreck.

After the wreck, CLIA announced a new policy that requires emergency drills for all embarking passengers before a ship leaves port -- which had not happened for passengers who boarded Concordia the day of the accident.