NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


November 1, 2000

National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Jim Hall today issued the following statement in response to announcements by four cruise ship lines that they would support installation of local-sounding smoke alarms on their ships and the decision by their trade association to support the measure on all cruise lines.

For a number of years, the National Transportation Safety Board has urged the cruise ship industry to install smoke alarms on its ships that sound where the smoke is detected, not just in a remotely located control room. We have demonstrated in accident investigations that precious time is lost between the detection of smoke and the time that passengers are ultimately notified of the problem.

I am pleased that four of the leading cruise ship companies - Disney Cruise Line, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, Crystal Cruises and Holland America Line - have now taken steps to install such devices on their ships. The management of these companies are to be commended for their leadership on this issue. Installation of local-sounding alarms will, in my opinion, greatly enhance the safety of passengers aboard these ships.

While we were disappointed earlier this year when the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL), the industry trade association, opposed efforts by the United States Coast Guard to persuade the International Maritime Organization to adopt regulations requiring locally sounding alarms on the world's cruise ships, I am now pleased to note that the ICCL has formulated a policy statement supporting installation of local-sounding smoke alarms on new and existing vessels of its members' fleets. I believe this policy is a move in the right direction, and if ratified and implemented by its membership, will improve the safety of passengers and crew on board ICCL passenger ships.

The cruise ship industry embarks 6 million passengers a year from U.S. ports and enjoys a commendable safety record. The actions of these four companies and of the ICCL will correct a safety deficiency long noted by our investigators. I again congratulate these companies and the ICCL for their leadership, and urge all other cruise lines to follow their lead.

NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.