This morning I received messages from readers of Cruise Law News indicating that a passenger deployed a liferaft from a canister during a three night "cruise to nowhere" sailing from Australia. One person on the ship said:
"I have just returned from a 3 night cruise on the celebrity Solstice out of Sydney, Australia. On the 2nd night we saw one of the inflatable life boats had been deployed and the ship had to actually turn around and go back to retrieve it. We were told by several people that it was actually a passenger that threw the capsule overboard."
Other passengers mentioned that the cruise was a real booze fest during which someone apparently thought that activating the liferaft was a good college-type-of-prank to perform.
I received a photo from another passenger, apparently posted on Facebook, but I don’t have a name for attribution.
Activating a liferaft canister like this can be written off as a hair-brain shenanigan, but it is alarming to me. No one should have access to the canisters nor should they be able to deploy one. A terrorist or someone wanting to cause harm to the vessel’s operations could easily deploy a dozen of them if they are so easily accessible & deployable and there are no security precautions in place.
It reminds me of a situation several years ago when a drunken passenger entered a "restrictive" area and dropped the ship’s anchor on a Holland American Line cruise ship. You can read about that combination of drunken passenger conduct and ship security lapse here: Drunk Passenger Drops Cruise Ship Anchor.
October 27 2014 Update: We received a comment from the IP address of Royal Caribbean (see below) stating that "Nobody deployed the raft . . . the raft fell in the water as the strap failed . . . we did check the CCTV cameras on Deck and we also have the video already . . ."
So what happened? Did the canister deploy by accident? Seems like this should have been disclosed on the ship. Anyone have additional info?
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Photo Credit: Facebook