This weekend, the New York Times published an article about the "supersize craze" - the increasingly large cruise ships being built by the major cruise lines which are "worrying safety experts, lawmakers and regulators."
The article quotes my hero- Jim Hall, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTBS): “Cruise ships operate in a void from the standpoint of oversight and enforcement. The industry has been very fortunate until now."
The article discusses the capsizing of the Costa Concordia and the fires aboard the Carnival Triumph & Splendor and the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas, and concludes that larger cruise ships pose larger problems when things go wrong.
The article also quotes Rear Admiral Joseph Servidio, who testified at a Senate hearing in July which I attended. He said that the recent cruise ship fires “highlight serious questions about the design, maintenance and operation of fire safety equipment on board these vessels, as well as their companies’ safety management cultures.”
The New York Times addressed the potential problems of evacuating Royal Caribbean two mega-ships, the Allure and the Oasis. There are not enough life boats for the crew. The 2,300 crew members on each of these cruise ships will have to jump down 60 foot evacuation chutes into life rafts.
You can see our article about this problem here - Titanic Redux? Can Royal Caribbean Safely Evacuate 8,500 Passengers & Crew from the Oasis of the Seas? Be sure to watch the video at the end of the article.
Captain William H. Doherty, a former captain at Norwegian Cruise Lines, explained the problem in simple terms to the New York Times: “The simple problem is they are building them too big and putting too many people aboard.”
Image Credit: Viking / Royal Catibbean