A newspaper in Finland is reporting that twenty crew members received injuries during a lifeboat drill aboard the Findlandia cruise ship operated by Eckerö Line in Tallinn.
The newspaper states that crew members suffered broken bones and sprained ankles, as well as friction burns caused by trying to slow their descent during the steep drop into a life raft.
Unlike most lifeboat systems in which the crew will board the lifeboat and then descend into the water, the system on the Findlandia involves a chute which drops straight down to the life rafts in the water. It does not look much different than chutes which construction crews use in dumping construction debris from upper floors into a dumpster on the street below.
You can see the system in the photograph to the left. It looks very dangerous.
The drill was suspended only when the Eckerö crew members refused to follow their colleagues down the chute.
”The exercise should have been called off as soon as the injuries came,” said a representative of a Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi.
A representative of the Finnish Seamen’s Union stated that the evacuation system used is "unsuitable and dangerous," although it was approved in the European Union.
Photo credit: D. Stenbäck / Trafi