In two recent Posts we mentioned River Cruising and the lack of information about Safety Protocols and Procedures. With the ever increasing popularity and building of new vessels it is remarkably difficult to get Safety Information about what these vessels carry in the way of Lifesaving Equipment. Are there Liferafts on board? Are there Lifejackets on board?
NAUTICAL LOG decided, since we receive numerous brochures describing the wonders of River Cruising, to take the direct approach and e-mail the "Contact Us" address for Viking River Cruises this morning. By lunchtime we had our answer and we quote the reply from a Cheri Stratton of Viking River Cruises, complete with spelling as received at NAUTICAL LOG
"Der Mr. Boucher,
Each Vessel has a briefing on emergencies once you board.
We have many different itineraries and ships so those briefings may vary
Thank you for your inquiry
Viking River Cruises"
Now this is an answer but not one that informs about either Lifesaving Equipment or the Procedures in place for Emergencies. It takes one back to the Cruise Ship Standards of 50 years ago and clearly these River Cruising Companies have to give Safety a much higher priority. We are approaching the 100th. Anniversary of the RMS Titanic which changed forever the status of Safety of Life at Sea.
Hopefully it is not going to take such an appalling tragedy to raise the status of River Cruising Safety to an acceptable level. On the Russian Rivers there have been several accidents recently with considerable loss of life. As a former Safety Officer in Ocean Cruise ships and International Unlimited Tonnage Master one does not find the e-mailed reply informative or encouraging and at least for now NAUTICAL LOG and his wife shall NOT be river cruising.
Once again we would ask you to remember the 300 of our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates off Puntland, Somalia. If you feel there is some way you can help by contacting your Government Representative please do so as nothing is being done to rescue and free them.