Thomson Majesty Loses Power

Thomson MajestyI received the following information early this morning (Miami time): " My parents are on Thomson Majesty. Last night on the way from Livorno to Corsica, the cruise ship lost all power . . . It was drifting in the Med, with passengers in pitch black, without the use of toilets, without any great communication from staff."

The cruise ship regained power but returned to the port in Livorno. AIS websites like Marine Traffic show that the ship drifted for several hours late last night before returning to Livorno. 

Power failures in the cruise industry have been relatively common lately. The Thomson Celebration suffered an engine failure in July as the cruise ship was departing the port in Valletta, Malta.

October 22, 2016 Update:  Receiving word that there was a fire in the engine room. The cruise ship will head straight to Barcelona, skipping Corsica and Marseille. I am aware of no official statement from the cruise line.

October 23, 2016 Update: After undergoing unspecified repairs, the cruise ship finally left Livorno today heading for Barcelona. ,

A couple of passengers have commented that there appears to be a gastrointestinal outbreak on the cruise?

October 24, 2016 Update: In the article Majesty back on course after engine room fire, Thomson Cruises trots out the "it-was-a-small-and-immediately-extinguished-fire-with-quick-minor-repairs" explanation. Written by cruise fan John Honeywell, the article minimizes the considerable delay and inconvenience to the passengers. It even denies that the sister ship, Thomson Spirit, ran aground in the harbor of Portimão which we reported a day earlier.

October 30. 2016 Update: A Facebook group has been "created for and on behalf of passengers of the Thomson Majesty who were on the cruise on Western Mediterranean from 18th to 25th October 2016 and others who were affected by the incidents experienced." The group is member-only so you have to ask for permission to be added to the group. 

CLIA Safety Proposal Ignored: Lifeboat Plunges 60 Feet, 5 Dead

Thomson Majesty Lifeboat AccidentFollowing the Costa Concordia disaster last year, the Cruise Line International Organization (CLIA) announced 10 new safety proposals that all of the cruise lines were suppose to follow.

One proposal was that cruise lines would no longer load crew members in the lifeboats during safety drills. Instead, cruise lines were suppose to lower the lifeboats into the water first, load the crew members in next, and then practice motoring the lifeboat around. The proposal envisions only a few crew aboard during the lowering of the lifeboat, and they must be essential to the operation. 

Today we learn that at least 8 crew members were in a lifeboat during a drill on the Thomson Majesty cruise ship, apparently in violation of the new CLIA safety proposal, when the lifeboat plunged 60 feet into the water. The lifeboat landed upside down. 5 of the crew are dead. 3 are injured. 

The cruise ship was docked at the pier of Santa Cruz port in La Palma, in the Canary Islands. Thomson Cruises is owned by the large German travel company TUI. The cruise ship is operated by Louis Cruises.

A local newspaper says that the nationality of the dead victims are three Indonesians, a Ghanian and a Filipino. The injured involve two Greek crew members in serious condition and a Filipino in what is being described as in less serious condition.   

There is a saying that most lifeboats drills injure or kill more crew than save lives. Lifeboats can fall suddenly due to operator error or suffer malfunctions of the moving parts or failure of the cables and hardware. The accident appears to have happened while the lifeboat was being raised. No one needs to be aboard the lifeboat when it is raised. A cable snapped on one side. A photograph on our Facebook page shows a frayed cable.  

You can see a dramatic lifeboat accident in a video here. Although it did not involve a cruise ship, you can see how things can go terribly wrong.

It's a shame that the lifeboat had crew members aboard while it was being lowered and raised in violation of the CLIA safety proposals. Why have 8 crewmembers in the boat while it is being raised anyway? The safety proposals are just that - proposals. It seems that at the end of the day, the cruise lines do whatever they want to do. 

Please leave a comment below or discuss this accident on our Facebook page

February 11 2013 Update: Cruise Critic has an interesting article: Lifeboat Tragedy: Did Cruise Line Ignore Safety Guidelines?  It quotes an expert on lifeboat drills:

"Alan Graveson, Senior International Secretary of Nautilus the U.K.-based seafarers' union, said: "I issued instructions seven years ago that preferably nobody should be in the lifeboat during a safety drill, and if that's not possible then there should be a maximum of two people.

"Lifeboats are meant to go one way -- and that's down -- I don't know why there were eight people onboard when they were winching it back up."

Photo credit: AP via Huffington Post.  Video credit: BBC News.