Venice officials have asked several of Europe’s other popular cruise destinations, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dubrovnik and Marseille to join them in working toward the enforcement of new rules that would require cruise lines to adapt their ships to reduce the potential for injury to people as well as environmental impact.
“I have written to all European cities that share our experience with cruise tourism and that find themselves having to balance economic development with environmental sustainability,” Pino Musolino, chairman of the northern Adriatic Sea port authority, said in a statement Thursday.
“The growing size of vessels, their environmental impacts on the areas surrounding the ports and the ‘burden’ that the increasing number of tourists…are creating a situation of conflict,” he wrote in a letter to eight fellow port authorities.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and bucket list destination for many, Venice is slowly sinking, with officials blaming cruise ships for contributing to the growing problem.
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.