The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is an industry trade association consisting of many of the largest passenger cruise lines that call at major ports in the United States and abroad. CLIA is dedicated to ensuring that the cruise industry provides a safe, healthy, and secure ship environment for both passengers and crew. CLIA member lines work closely with the U.S. Coast Guard, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and flag and port states to develop and enhance international maritime safety initiatives.

The cruise industry is committed to the safety of the passengers and crew as a matter of priority. To increase this level of safety in the event of a fire onboard, each CLIA cruise vessel operator has agreed to install in new and existing ships, local sounding smoke alarms in all passenger and crew cabins, that are intended to immediately alert occupants of the cabin to the presence of smoke. CLIA members believe that when operated in conjunction with the smoke detection and alarm system required by the International Convention for the safety of life at sea (SOLAS), that these local alarms will provide optimal performance with minimal adverse operational impact.

Central to the presence of local sounding smoke alarms is the premise that these alarms should not interfere with internationally required fire detection systems or operational procedures necessary for passenger management in the event of an emergency. In particular, attention must be given to preventing local sounding smoke alarms from rendering the public address system ineffective, preventing efficient communications between crew and passengers or within the fire team, or from otherwise preventing the passing of information necessary in responding to an emergency.

Life safety onboard cruise ships in the event of a fire is dependent upon a system of safety that incorporates: structural fire resistant design; fire detection and extinguishing systems (including smoke detectors and alarms, sprinkler systems, and fire mains); emergency response teams that have received advanced training in shipboard firefighting; and shipboard operational response procedures formulated for specific emergency situations.

CLIA members agree that local sounding smoke alarms will not be relied on as the sole means of assuring that a passenger or crewmember is alerted to the possibility of danger from smoke or fire. When smoke detector activation causes an alarm to sound in the ships safety center (required by SOLAS), CLIA member cruise vessel operators have agreed that they will continue their operational practice of alerting the compartment occupant and ascertaining if there is indeed a fire. To this end, the following actions are taken:

  • One or more crewmembers will be immediately directed to the location of the activated smoke detector to investigate.
  • A telephone call will immediately be made from the ship’s safety center to the affected passenger cabin or crew cabin where equipped with a telephone.
  • In the event of the activation of multiple smoke detectors throughout a space or in more than one space, and in the absence of specific knowledge or additional information regarding the origin of these alarms, the ship will immediately assemble and, in the absence of confirmation that there is no fire, dispatch a fire response team.

Additionally, CLIA members have agreed that passenger instruction in regard to what action to take in the event of the activation of a local sounding alarm will be provided via in-room written and/or video safety information. Such instructions will include, but are not limited to, the meaning of the alarm and the action the passenger is required to take. CLIA members also agreed that training for the crew, regarding how to respond to local sounding alarms, will be given at appropriate intervals and will be included in the crew safety manuals required by SOLAS.

CLIA adopts the following industry standard regarding the installation of Local Sounding Smoke Alarms:

Definition: Local Sounding Smoke Alarm means an audible signal that is emitted within a passenger or crew cabin where a smoke detector is activated and which is of sufficient sound pressure (loudness) to alert occupants of the cabin to the possibility of danger.

New Vessels and Existing Vessels: CLIA members have agreed that they will install Local Sounding Smoke Alarms in all passenger and crew cabins.¹

Date Adopted: November 6, 2001 as an International Council of Cruise Lines Industry Standard
Date Modified: November 6, 2001, November 27, 2006
Compliance Date: Cruise Line members previously associated with ICCL agreed to install these alarms not later than July 1, 2002. CLIA members not previously party to this industry standard have agreed to install these alarms not later than July 1 2007.

¹ In accordance with US and international regulation, Local Sounding Smoke Alarms and their installation must be acceptable to the vessel’s flag administration and classification society.