Skip to main content

C S I (CONTINUED)


Passenger Boat Drill with Officer checking off those assigned to his Boat

As the second day of the NTSB hosted cruise ship safety forum continued cruise line executives described what steps have been taken for safety.  NTSB Chairperson Deborah Hersman asked how would this work in real life?  It is a much needed question which past experiences by NAUTICAL LOG, a former cruise line Safety Officer and the industry itself in more recent times has shown not too well.  The attempted abandon ship when the MS Costa Concordia was put on the rocks through careless navigation being a recent example with the loss of 32 persons both passengers and crew.

During the second day NTSB Deborah Hersman pointed out this evacuation did not even begin until the ship was listed.  Most passengers managed to escape, some in lifeboats and life rafts some by jumping into the water and swimming ashore.  She asked the question:

"Do we have the capability to evacuate, launch and rescue the number of people that can be on a cruise ship?  The simulations are good but we had real-life scenario and things did not go as planned."

From the cruise line executives in reply there were the usual high-handed statements about safety and protecting the environment and that the responding team is under absolutely no commercial pressure whatsoever.  This as anyone working at just about any level in a cruise ship or for a cruise line is absolute nonsense.  There was further talk, and that is just about what it is  in practice, about electronic system loudspeakers and video screens all over the ship and on the Bridge.  If passengers do not pay attention to these and more importantly understand what is being shown and said then it is largely a waste of time.  RCCL which operates the currently largest passenger carrying ships with some 5,400 yes that's 5,400 persons on board claims they are safer than the smaller cruise ships that NAUTICAL LOG was a Safety Officer in.  Clearly that is not a realistic but commercial statement and there is not the slightest proof based on evidence, that this is true.

In the opinion of NAUTICAL LOG there is the capability in equipment to evacuate the number of persons on board the ship.  However whether there is the capability to execute that capability is an unknown factor.  As an example in the last cruise ship NAUTICAL LOG sailed in we had 35 nationalities in a crew of less than 550 speaking 8 languages and today the crews are 3x that number and more.


NTSB Chairperson Deborah Hersman


NTSB Chairperson Deborah Hersman wrapped up the first-ever NTSB forum on cruise ship safety by questioning whether the industry regulators and investigators are truly prepared to handle a massive catastrophe at sea in an era of megaships.  She closed with remarking:

"As we have said about other industries the lack of a major accident is not an indication of safety."

Good Watch.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PERIGEAN SPRING TIDES

It sometimes happens that one is going to write a Post on a subject when lo and behold there is already an excellent one.  Such is the case today; so rather than repeat everything let me refer you to the source of that Post

At present we are experiencing Perigean Spring Tides which occur when the Moon is at perigee on its oval path that is the closest point to Earth.  One of the principal results are higher than usual Spring Tides as against the Neap Tides.

Should you be interested in the full explanation of this phenomenon then you might like to reference "Old Salt Blog" which has an excellent explanation of this event and uses all the correct terms - quite unlike our Media here in South Florida.

Good Watch.

STANDING DOWN PROBLEMS CONTINUE

In addition to the recent "Standing Down" of training voyages for its Midshipersons the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) has received warnings about the quality, or lack thereof, of its training programme.  The Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE) report stated that accreditation was in jeopardy for non-compliance in certain areas.

Coupled with the continuing problems requiring disciplinary actions including dismissal from the Navy the United States Navy (USN) has had in recent years this does not bode well for the professionalism of the seafaring community of the United States.

It is clear to this writer, an International Master Mariner with 50 years of experience, that the training sources for both Officers and Ratings need an immediate complete examination and review.  Currently the Officer commanding riverine craft based in Bahrain has been dismissed.  Another nine Officers and Ratings are under disciplinary action as a result of the capture by…

FINALLY AN ATTEMPT TO RECOVER

NAUTICAL LOG has on previous occasions discussed the SS El Faro VDR in a Post titled RELUCTANCE TO RECOVER and two other Posts about the VDR (Voyage Data Recorder) of the SS El Faro

The Ship sank in Hurricane Joaquin on October 01, 2015 off the Bahamas.  There has seemed to be a reluctance by all parties involved to continue the attempt to recover the VDR from some 15,000 feet - admittedly a considerable depth.  However because of the importance of possible data on the recorder such an attempt must be made.

Finally the NTSB has contracted with the USN Supervisor of Salvage to assist in the recovery of the VDR.  The USNS Apache will depart in early July 2016 together with USCG, Phoenix International and an underwater operating vehicle the CURV-21.

Once the VDR is recovered it will be brought ashore to the NTSB laboratory and thoroughly studied to download and analyze the information.  With these results in hand the USCG will conduct a two hearings to investigate the sinking and questio…