This morning we were contacted by passengers aboard Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas indicating that two dockworkers were killed when the cruise ship was leaving the port.
The passengers described the incident as occurring when the two dockworkers were in a small vessel trying to remove the last mooring lines. The Independence of the Seas’ wake allegedly swamped the vessel with its azipods and threw the two men into the water. The vessel then allegedly slammed into the Celebrity Silhouette and overturned.
The two men were described as wearing life-vests, although one vest apparently became loose when the man was tossed into the water.
The passengers who we communicated with were critical that the Independence "launched rescue but not fast enough. Celebrity took 30 min after we launched rescue to respond." They described a "lack of quick response and feeling of helplessness."
The incident occurred yesterday around 5:00 PM. The Independence was delayed approximately 3 hours.
The incident has already been posted on social media sites.
The Times Caribbean Blog posted this on Facebook (and the photo to the right):
"Eyewitnesses suggest that the Cruise Liner may have pulled out before the men had enough time to clear the berthing area. As a result the sea currents created by the massive cruise liner may have caused the smaller berthing boat to capsize and the men were apparently sucked below water by the current and drowned."
The news account also indicated that "the small boat was capsized when our rear azipods pushed us away from the dock. The two men where thrown overboard and never resurfaced, only one had on a life vest, the other man’s life vest came off when he was thrown into the water. The capsized boat was then pushed into the back of the Silhouette. All of this viewed from my aft balcony, kinda puts a damper on an otherwise wonderful cruise. Very sad for the families of these two men.’"
CNN iReport posted information (based on the Times Caribbean account) and a local newspaper in St. Kitts, SKNVibes, published an article as well.
The St. Kitts & Nevis Observer identified the two men.
April 5 2014 Update: Linesman expresses safety concerns following colleague’s death.
If anyone has additional information or photos or video of the incident, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Photo Credit: Times Caribbean