The Coast Guard began unannounced inspections of cruise ships this month, to focus more attention on ships with the most complaints during routine inspections, federal safety officials learned Tuesday.
Coast Guard Capt. Eric Christensen told the National Transportation Safety Board that his agency inspected 140 foreign cruise ships last year when they reached U.S. ports and found 351 discrepancies from international safety standards.
The most common problem in 44 cases: Fire-screen doors intended to hinder a fire didn’t close properly, he said. Other problems found included lifeboats with cracked hulls, obstructed means of escape and crews unfamiliar with what to do in an emergency.