Thursday, January 19, 2012

Empty vessels

While The Boy was pretending that he could take action over the Costa Concordia capsize, a US congressional committee was announcing the launch of an investigation on the safety implications of the accident. It said US and international maritime organisations need to ensure standards are in place to protect passengers' safety on cruise ships.

"Although it is early in the investigatory process, it appears the Costa Concordia was a preventable tragedy," Rep Frank LoBiondo, the subcommittee chairman, said in a statement. "The committee and subcommittee will use this hearing to review current US laws and regulations in an effort to ensure a similar tragedy does not occur aboard vessels calling on American ports," he says.

Of course, the US makes its own laws in this domain (including implementing IMO resolutions and recommendations), whereas the British government has outsourced maritime safety to Brussels. There would be no point in our toy parliament setting up its own inquiry, as the relevant executive body is the EU commission.

This is despite the fact that unresolved technical issues have been researched by British universities, although here, once again, the EU was the authority of record. It paid for the research – which it has since ignored.

Thus we get Quentin Letts prattling about the idleness of our MPs, without explaining why. As with medical device standards, the power has gone elsewhere, leaving our MPs as empty vessels. One wonders why they too do not capsize.