A delegation of some twenty representatives from Cruise the Saint Lawrence ports recently attended a symposium on cruise ship and ferry operations risk management.

Organized at the end of October by UQAC's Centre du savoir sur mesure (CESAM) and Promotion Saguenay, the event brought together all stakeholders involved in marine emergency preparedness.

The symposium proved a privileged forum for assembling a diversity of stakeholders around a common challenge and drew 150 persons, two thirds of whom hailed from outside the Saguenay/Lac-Saint-Jean region. For the occasion, organizers also welcomed some twenty highly qualified emergency management professionals from Qu├ębec, Ontario, France and the United States.

Symposium proceedings enabled attendees to better comprehend the port-related risks of cruise ship and ferry operations, as well as the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, while enhancing the intervention capability of the latter in the event of a mishap.

Gerry Ellis, Director of Maritime Safety and Compliance at Royal Caribbean Cruises was the guest keynote speaker for the event.

According to Ellis, it was the first time, to his knowledge, that such a large number of ports from a single destination had convened to discuss the challenges of cruise ship operations safety.

He went on to add: "The simple fact that the event had taken place demonstrates the importance attached to the challenge by destination officials."

The symposium is bound to have an impact on the destination, according to a statement from the Association, which said there should be another similar event in 2014.