A new safety policy covering the loading of lifeboats by crew members for training has been adopted by the global cruise industry.

The policy is the latest outcome of a wide-ranging cruise industry operational safety review, which was launched in January in the wake of the Costa Concordia disaster which left 32 people dead.

The new ‘Life Boat Loading for Training Purposes’ policy requires the launching and full loading of a lifeboat at least once every six months for crew training purposes.

The policy applies to all oceangoing members of the US-based Cruise Lines International Association and the European Cruise Council.

During the training, the lifeboat is filled to capacity with members of the crew members and manoeuvered in the water.

It is mandatory that all crewmembers involved in operating or loading of lifeboats attend the drill.

Smaller ships with less than 300 crewmembers will conduct similar training as appropriate.

Carnival UK chief executive David Dingle, a member of the European Cruise Council executive, said: “This policy exceeds current stringent international regulatory requirements and has been independently verified by highly respected marine safety experts.

“It, along with the other seven policies voluntarily adopted by the industry this year, underlines our absolute commitment to continuously improving safety for our passengers and crew.

“We are determined to ensure that cruising remains the safest holiday choice.”

CLIA chief executive Christine Duffy said: “The cruise industry continues to work on a global level to improve the safety of passengers and crew, which is our number one priority.

“Since January of this year, and in keeping with our efforts to continuously improve operational excellence, the global cruise industry has voluntarily adopted seven wide-ranging safety policies.

“We remain fully committed to exploring further enhancements in a number of areas that will add to the industry’s excellent safety record.”