Today the Barbados Free Press takes a look at the failure of the captain of the world's largest cruise ship to timely notify the U.S. Coast Guard that a passenger had been spotted going overboard.
Notwithstanding an eyewitness account, the cruise ship intentionally did not follow its own man overboard protocols and delayed 2 hours before finally contacting the Coast Guard in Miami. Royal Caribbean's conduct is particularly egregious considering that the cruise ship was not in the middle of the Atlantic when the incident. It had left Fort Lauderdale a few hours earlier and was heading to Nassau, within quick striking range of Coast Guard aircraft, helicopters and cutters. Here's what the Barbados Free Press (BFP) has to say:
"A few days ago on Sunday September 16, 2012 at about 9:30pm a passenger was seen falling overboard from the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.
The Allure of the Seas never called the Coast Guard for assistance in searching until two hours later. By that time it was far too late for the lost passenger.
When BFP’s own pilot Robert heard about the incident, his first comment was surprise that Royal Caribbean built the world’s biggest and most expensive cruise ship – at a cost of some US$1.2 billion dollars – and didn’t include an onboard helicopter and alert flight crew to handle rescue situations and medical emergencies. The initial cost and ongoing expenditure would be nothing in relation to the overall operation, but Royal Caribbean made a decision to exclude the helicopter and instead build more cabins. Similarly Royal Caribbean does not maintain a quick launch rescue boat with a standby ready crew on alert. “Profits over passenger safety” seems to be the Royal Caribbean motto even at the design stage.
The outrageous failure of the Allure of the Seas captain to call for help for a passenger overboard and the failure of planning, design and operations in dealing with passengers overboard is just the latest in an ongoing series of cruise disaster stories."
Read more here.
Image Credit: Barbados Free Press