Does the Dubai Cruise Safety Campaign Assure You or Frighten You?

Abu Dhabi CruiseI have a section in this blog called "weird" cruise news. This is one of those stories.

Dubai has been very active as of late conducting PR work to encourage cruises from its port in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Another city in the UAE, Abu Dhabi (the capital), made an impressive showing at recent Cruise Shipping Miami 2013 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. It had, in my view, the most beautiful exhibit at the trade show (photo left).     

The "Dubai Maritime City Authority," which is the official group responsible for the maritime operations in Dubai, recently announced a highly publicized cruise ship fire drill aboard Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas at the Mina Rashid Cruise Terminal. 

The photo (below) which the Dubai officials released announcing the fire drill may do more harm that good. Dubai did not release any photos of the crew members on the Serenade wearing life-vests or congregating at their muster stations.

Instead, the photos show 10 Dubai officials, wearing traditional dress, holding or trying to wear 6 life-vests. 4 men have no life-vests.  3 men are holding the vests as if they were just presented with a prize. And 3 men have them hanging around their necks. No one has the vests properly fitted with the straps in the correct locations and secure.

Does anyone in Dubai know how to wear a life-vest?

Where are photos of the the families and kids or the diverse array of multi-national crew members or at least a token woman or two wearing the vests properly and securely? 

Does this make you want to cruise out of Dubai?

Dubai Cruise - UAE

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Comments (10) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
nomoore - March 27, 2013 10:21 PM

Ok, why do I find this photo creepy?
It's not the traditional garb that I find disturbing, maybe it's their facial expressions. I'm getting a mental image of this crowd chucking passengers overboard, not helping them. Ok, I'm sure they are nice helpful guys...

anon - March 27, 2013 11:38 PM

Looks like something from a comic movie. Will i trust them to save my life, never. Id say they messed up a bit with their advertising.

Mark Gaouette - March 28, 2013 12:43 AM

Jim,
Thanks for the “weird” article. Usually, I enjoy your updates on safety and security through your CruiseLawNews Blog, but this time, I think you got it wrong.
I live in Abu Dhabi. From September through May (when the weather is always 72 degree), Cruise ships from Costa and Royal Caribbean among others, visit on a weekly basis Mina Rashid Port in Dubai and Port Zayed in Abu Dhabi. The busloads of cruise ship tourists are frequent visitors along the Corniche (beach street), in the expansive shopping malls, the famous Sheik Zayed Mosque, and other popular sites like the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and the 1 billion dollar Emirates Palace Hotel (where you can actually buy gold from ATMs).
If anything, organizations like Dubai Ports World (DWP) and the new Khalifa Industrial Port have placed the U.A.E. as the leading maritime destination in the Gulf. Photos like the one you have posted here do not signify, nor are they intended to represent a “life boat” muster as you suggest but are typical of P.R. photos taken for trade journals and newspapers. I have worked with many of the maritime security officials here in the UAE (and a few in this photo) and I can assure you that their knowledge and commitment to maritime security is to me, overwhelming, and they certainly “know how to wear life jackets.” If there was one place to visit in the Gulf region by cruise ship, it would be the ports here in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, plus, these are some of the nicest people I have ever met. – from Abu Dhabi, Cdr Mark Gaouette, USNR –Ret.

Mojito Miami - March 28, 2013 7:29 AM

I am betting dollars to matzah there will be no Passover Cruises from that Port

Jim Walker - March 28, 2013 9:33 AM

Mark:

I respect your experience, credential and opinions. I know that the life boat drill didn't involve these fellows. But Dubai needs some better PR images. The photo is just plain weird.

Jim

Debbie - March 28, 2013 9:46 AM

As a Jewish woman I would never cruise to Dubai. I don't feel that it is a safe destination for me to travel to. I think it ironic that they want to have cruises going to Dubai since they want everyone all covered up. When tourists cruise they generally wear bathing suits, shorts and T-shirts and cruisers love to drink. That photo is sending the entirely wrong message as if you can't even put on your lifejacket properly how are you going to save a passenger's life?

Andy - March 28, 2013 10:10 AM

The guy on the far right is Mohammad Al Bastaki, who is the Director Operations. He is also the holder of an USCG Advanced Foreign Passenger Vessel Examiners Certification. Therefore, I guess he might have some basic knowledge of how to wear a life jacket.

Jim Walker - March 28, 2013 10:20 AM

Hi Andy: Good point. (Its always nice to hear from Princess Cruises.) Perhaps these men are credentialed. But the point of the article is that the photo sends the wrong message to consumers.

Nomoore - March 28, 2013 2:40 PM

And the caption should read " come join us on our Dubai party boat where the good times never end!" The more i look at this the more i howl with laughter, are they being held at gun point?

Kristin - April 1, 2013 2:02 AM

Not many Asian/Arabs can swim. In case of a ship sinking, so as do the Arabs- they will literally raise their hands above the water and flail them about- sink, rise again somehow- and flail their arms again. After a couple times, they don't come back up. This was reported to me by a South African woman who unfortunately was witness to a tragedy that she luckily survived from.

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