Norwegian Gem (photo: Cruise Industry News)American Maritime Safety (AMS) awarded Norwegian Cruise Line the 2012 Quality Ship Management Award for implementation of quality control systems that enhance crew member efficiency and reduce marine casualties.

AMS underlined Norwegian’s adherence to safety standards, and Rick Harper, initiator, developer and implementer of Norwegian’s Safety Culture Concept (also the company’s director of safety, training and development), received the award in New York.

Norwegian’s program involves constantly communicating safety messages – including a safety thought of the day.

Rick Harper (left) and Lee Seham (right)“I researched the safety culture with different airlines, chemical and oil companies to find out how their safety cultures work,” said Harper.

Describing it as an easy program that works well with crew turnover, Harper said that there is a new safety thought of everyday that management passes onto their teams verbally.

“They ask them about the safety thought of the day throughout the work day, to keep safety in their minds,” explained Harper.

“The company’s safety goal is zero accidents. Reinforcing the message is what it’s all about.”

Personal praise for good safety and a “no-blame” concept are part of Norwegian’s strategy.

AMS General Counsel Lee Seham pointed to Norwegian’s compliance with U.S. Coast Guard regulations regarding drug and alcohol testing when serious marine incidents occur within 12 miles of a U.S. coast.

“They aggressively self-audit,” he said. “Norwegian has a campaign for the crew and has people trained to do the testing right onboard if they have to.

“Other cruise lines either don’t know that the law applies to them or are waiting to be caught,” Seham noted.

In addition, the company strongly conveys its accident and near-miss reporting policies, and how to evaluate safety before starting a job.

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Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Spring 2013