Five crew have been killed after a lifeboat they were in fell from the Thomson cruise ship Majesty while it was docked in the port of Santa Cruz de la Palma in the Canary Islands.
The accident happened during a routine safety drill at about 12:00 GMT. Three others were also hurt as the lifeboat fell into the sea, trapping occupants.
Those killed include three Indonesians, a Filipino and a Ghanaian.
The MS Thomson Majesty is operated by UK-based Thomson Cruises.
The UK Foreign Office said it was aware of the incident and was "urgently looking into it".
No passengers were involved in the accident, local reports say.
Thomson Cruises said in a statement that it was "aware of an incident involving the ship's crew on board Thomson Majesty, in La Palma, Canary Islands this afternoon".
"We are working closely with the ship owners and managers, Louis Cruises, to determine exactly what has happened and provide assistance to those affected by the incident," the statement added.
Reports said the lifeboat fell between 20 and 30 metres into the sea.
Footage shot from the cruise ship showed the lifeboat in the water
Last edited by follow40; February 10th, 2013 at 09:57 AM.
Modern lifeboats aboard ship have killed more people than they have saved.
Have the lifeboats killed people or have poorly trained or incompetent people killed themselves and others while improperly using them? It's kind of like the gun control debate.
Every time I go to MSTC for training and get in those antique boats that are used daily it reminds me of how boats can be maintained and operated safely for years if done right and taken seriously.
This often used quote is not really valid anymore given the lives saved using lifeboats on the Deepwater Horizon and Costa Concordia to name a few. Some of those people may have made it by jumping but I'm confident a lot wouldn't have if it weren't for the boats and crews who knew how to use them.
This vessel has had a bit of an eventful life, here's some things from her past (vessel's name has changed a few times) on her wiki page:
On June 10, 1995, the Royal Majesty grounded on Rose and Crown Shoal about 10 miles east of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, and about 17 miles from where the watch officers thought the vessel was. The vessel, with 1,509 persons on board, was en route from St.George’s, Bermuda, to Boston, Massachusetts. There were no deaths or injuries as a result of this accident. Damage to the vessel and lost revenue, however, were estimated at about $7 million.
On March 3, 2010, three rogue waves hit the Louis Majesty, killing two passengers, and injuring a number of others, while on a 12 day cruise around the Mediterranean. The waves, which were reportedly in excess of 26 feet (8 m) high, collided with the side of the vessel, smashing several windows in the saloon area. Water was taken on in the saloon area, which then drained down the decks below. The ship returned to port at Barcelona to receive repairs.
Given the fact that all the deaths are training accidents there is no reason to believe that more training will lead to anything except more deaths.
That the boats saved any lives in the Costa Concordia is debatable as the ship did not sink and the DWH is not a ship.
I did my apprenticeship on a cruiseship and we had lifeboat drills every week. However, every week it was a different set of lifeboats that had a drill. We had twelve life boats, including tenders and rescue boats, and each week three to four of them were involved in a drill with their respective crews. The crews were often galley and hotel staff. I estimate that each lifeboat crewmember had a drill no more than once or twice a month and I don't how much training in between. I have only once witnessed a lifeboat crew receiving a training in the operation of the release mechanism on a mechanical release mechanism simulator. I do know that they were required to follow a computer training upon joining the ship.
I also know that the operation of the release mechnaism can be confusing and there is a lot you need to remember about the mechanism to operate it safely. The mechanism on the ship that I was on, and there are slight variations from ship to ship, was not exactly intuative. Many forgot to check the indication on the lever before entering the boat, including some officers who supervised the drills every week.
I don't believe that more training will lead to more deaths, as training can be done in between drills. If anything more training on safety precautions for drills have to be done, not less. I just have a strong suspicion that lifeboat crews don't receive enough training apart from the drills they do. Furthermore, they spend an average of 70 to 77 hours per week working in the galley or elsewhere on the ship and have otherwise little to no involvement in the ship's safety department.
I also feel that release mechanisms on lifeboats are generally unsafe. They are difficult to operate and make it easy to make crucial mistakes, as what I suspect happened here.
There ought to be a cost effective technological and training solution to this persistent problem.
The MSTC boats are TEMPSC too... just with a lot of years in the Louisiana sun and thousands of launches and recoveries by trainees. They even have an old Whittaker capsule that's a real eye-opener to drive. But I digress...
I hate seeing these stories about men dying in lifeboat accidents but I still believe that they are a necessity and hands on training is a must. The crew needs to know and trust those boats when they're needed. We're out there at sea doing all sorts of demanding and extremely hazardous tasks with minimal incidents yet when we're tied up alongside and have a few sailors testing or maintaining a boat people are dying. Is it the equipment that is at fault or are we just not taking it seriously enough? Do we plan for a lifeboat drill the same as for our mainline operations? Is the regular maintenance pencil-whipped because the work load on the men is too much and the lifeboats never get used anyway?
stevefoster (February 15th, 2013)
According to this news article it was caused by a snapped cable.
"The incident happened just after midday. Cables snapped as the lifeboat was being winched up from the water following a routine emergency drill."
Attempted to motor it all of the way to the top and not hand crank it?
Thomson Majesty - Not an act of God. Reasons could be 1.Faulty material meaninglack of maintenance.
2. Inexperienced crew –meaning poor or lack of training. 3. Officerin charge – lack of experience.
4. Or because of the mixed nationalities of the crewinvolved, were there communication problems.
Whatever the reason it will be the fault of managementsomewhere along the line
Fatal accidents are happening in shipping far too regularlythese past few years. Something iswrong with the calibre of modernseafarers.
The go-to guy on lifeboat accidents is Bob Couttie at Marine Accident Casebook.
His post Five Die in the Thomas Majesty Lifeboat Drill is here The post includes links to many other incidents.
According to the post reports indicate that the falls on one end released and one end of the boat dropped and the other fall parted.
BIMCO ''Frustrated'' at Flag State Unconcern On Lifeboat Deaths ...
The rather DEPRESSING situation caused the attending industry group to make a statement that has been appended to the report as follows: “The observers from ICS, OCIMF, BIMCO, IMCA, CLIA, Intertanko, P+I, NI, ITF, IFSMA, as participants of the group, expressed serious concern regarding the amended draft Guidelines for evaluation and replacement of lifeboat release and retrieval systems, as agreed by most Member States, believing that the Guidelines required further development before they could be considered fit for purpose, in part as they did not address the stability of the hook system. As indicated in their submission ISWG LRH/2/3, the shipping industry co-sponsors considered that, in addition to the further development of the Guidelines, amendments to both the LSA Code and to SOLAS regulation III/1.5 were required in order to achieve this goal and it was requested that this issue was brought to the attention of the Committee.”
Until a solution HOPEFULLY is reached through the IMO, BIMCO would advise its members to take their own safety precautions and use FPDs. Forgetting to rig FPDs could result in fatality. Gravity applies at any time – during drills and in emergencies. FPDs should therefore be rigged on boats with on-load release hooks at all times except when the boat reaches the water. BIMCO will in the near future issue more recommendations on the use of FPDs.
The inability of IMO to address the problem of lifeboat's hook as a whole resulted in BIMCO to advise directly its members to take their OWN safety precautions and use FPDs.
ISWG LRH (IMO Intercessional Working Group on Lifeboat Release Hooks).
FPDs (Fall Preventer Devices).
Hook Stability (An important factor in the design that refers to the hook mechanism’s ability to remain closed under load. Most existing hooks would fail the test suggested for this stability. ILAMA, the manufacturers’ representative body at the meetings, estimated that 90% of hooks would fail the test.)
A foreign captain react whereas a local pilot anticipate.
tugsailor (February 11th, 2013)
Kennebec Captain (February 12th, 2013)
The second question is with regards to the safety of some designs of on-load release hooks in use aboard ships. The problems occur during drills when the hooks are not secured properly. In that case there is risk that when the block strike the davit arms when the boat is being hoisted the hook will release and the boat will drop.
It is a well know problem within the industry.
Last edited by Kennebec Captain; February 12th, 2013 at 06:39 AM.
A simple Fall Preventer Device could have probably kept this from happening. It is pretty much the same as letting your guys work over the side or aloft without a safety harness. Where I've recently worked, no one goes on or in the boat without the FPDs being installed.
Sorry, but I don't understand how a FPD would have helped in this situation. I heard that the aft wire broke as the boat was being brought up, then the other wire broke. The crew were inside the boat I believe.
Ship Engines - http://www.flickr.com/photos/robbynorman/sets/72157603921324598/
Ships around the World - http://www.flickr.com/photos/robbynorman/sets/72157606763159635/
Report from KC post #12 above:
A photograph published on the BBC News website from a passenger taken shortly after the tragedy shows an apparently-parted fall wire. While investigations are far from complete this is a common phenomenon when a hook fails and the lifeboat pendulums on the remaining wire causing it to snap and drop the lifeboat into the water in an inverted position. Some reports claim that one of the boat’s on-load release hooks failed.