Lifeboat Drill Accident: One Killed, Four Injured in Fall Aboard Harmony of the Seas

The Harmony of the Seas (Oasis 3) class ship leaves the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire, France, May 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The Harmony of the Seas (Oasis 3) class ship leaves the STX Les Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire, France, May 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

One crew member was killed and four others were injured Tuesday in an accident during lifeboat drill aboard the world’s largest cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean confirmed that a Harmony of the Seas crew member had died of injuries sustained during a lifeboat drill conducted in Marseille, France. For other Harmony of the Seascrew members are receiving medical treatment, the cruise company said.

BBC reports that the five crew members were inside the lifeboat when it became detached from the fifth deck during a safety drill and fell 10 meters into the water below. Two of the injured suffered life-threatening injuries, BBC reported.

Harmony of the Seas is the world’s biggest cruise ship at more than 227,000 gross tons. The ship has capacity to carry 5,479 guests and is home to about 2,100 crew.

The cruise ship was delivered in May following 32 months of construction at the STX France shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France.

“We’re keeping our colleagues & their families in our thoughts & prayers,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement posted to Twitter.

The incident is the latest accident to occur during lifeboat safety drills on board cruise ships. In July, one crew member was killed and three others were injured aboard the Norwegian Breakaway were injured during a rescue boat drill in Bermuda. In 2013, five crew members died and three were injured during a drill aboard the cruise ship Thomson Majesty in the Canary Islands.

Accidents such as these have prompted the Cruise Lines International Association, the largest trade organization serving the international cruise industry, to adopt a policy requiring that “the loading of lifeboats for training purposes is to be performed only while the boat is waterborne and the boat should be lowered and raised with only the lifeboat crew onboard.”

The policy calls for at least one lifeboat on each ship to be filled with crew members equal in number to its certified number of occupants at least every six months for ships with more than 300 crew members.

Advertisements

Nine weeks on the dock for fire-damaged cruise ship

The damage caused by a fire that broke out on Oceania Cruises’ Insignia will take nine weeks to repair.

On December 11th 2014, the engine room of Insignia went up in flames while the vessel was docked in St Lucia, during its ten-day voyage that departed from San Juan in Puerto Rico.

Two contractors and an Insignia crew member who had been working in the engine room died as a result of the fire. One other crew member suffered injuries and was treated in hospital for smoke inhalation, but released a day later. Fortunately, no passengers were hurt.

Subsequently, the remainder of the sailing was cancelled and those on board were evacuated and flown to Miami.

The ship has been taken out of service, with the expected nine-week repairs leading to the cancellation of a 24-day voyage which had been scheduled to depart Miami on December 17th 2014, along with the first three legs of Insignia’s Around the World in 180 Days cruise, which was scheduled to leave Miami on January 10th 2015.

A picture of the Oceania Insignia fire

Insignia’s Around the World cruise has been rescheduled to commence on March 22nd 2015 and will depart from Singapore.

Kevin Sheehan, president and chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Lines – parent company of Oceania Cruises – said: “The timing of repairs has unfortunately required the cancellation of Insignia’s holiday voyage along with the modification of the world cruise.

“We understand how disappointing this news must be to our valued guests and we extend our sincere appreciation for their cooperation and understanding.”

Passengers who have already booked to embark on the world cruise can choose to go on the new date and receive a full refund for the cancelled days, along with an additional 25 per cent of the refunded amount in the form of a future cruise credit.

Or, they can opt for a full refund and a 25 per cent future cruise credit based on the pro-rata cruise fare on the three cancelled segments.

For those who choose to continue with the cruise, Oceania will provide free business class airfare to Singapore and a one-night pre-cruise hotel stay.

Oceania ship to be out of service for nine weeks following fatal engine room fire

Oceania Cruises’ ship Insignia will be out of service for more than two months following an engine room fire which killed three workers and injured another crew member.

The line has been forced to cancel a 24-day cruise over Christmas from Miami and the first three legs of an unprecedented 180-day round the world voyage.

The world cruise, which had been due to depart from Miami on January 10, will now begin in modified form in Singapore on March 22. Fares for the cruise began at $41,999.

The fire on the ship occurred on December 11 in St Lucia while it was on a 10-day sailing from Puerto Rico. The 656 passengers on board at the time were safely evacuated from the ship and flown to Miami and the remainder of the cruise was cancelled.

Parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has now confirmed that repairs to Insignia are expected to take about nine weeks.

President and CEO Kevin Sheehan said: “The timing of repairs has unfortunately required the cancellation of Insignia’s holiday voyage along with the modification of the world cruise.

“We understand how disappointing this news must be to our valued guests and we extend our sincere appreciation for their co-operation and understanding.”

The financial impact on the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 is estimated to be a reduction in earnings of approximately $0.05 and $0.05 per share, net of insurance proceeds, respectively, the company said.