A lifeboat broke free from the Carnival Dream in the Gulf of Mexico as the Carnival cruise ships was sailing back to New Orleans on December 30, 2018, according to a travel agent on the ship.

Mum’s Travel Blog reported that a lifeboat sheered from the davit hook and fell into the water around 2:00 p.m. yesterday. Fortunately, there was no one in the lifeboat at the time.

The Carnival Dream was unable to raise the lifeboat and decided to abandon it at sea. There are comments posted on social media that the Coast Guard may later retrieve the lifeboat.

This is not the first time that a lifeboat fell off of a cruise ship.

Earlier this year,  a lifeboat on P&O’s Arcadia broke from its cabling and fell from its davits into the sea while the cruise ship was in Ponta Delgada, Azores.

Last year, a lifeboat broke free from Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas in the port of Charleston due to a frayed cable.

In 2013, a cable to a lifeboat on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas  snapped while the cruise ship was in Nassau.

All of these incidents occurred when there were no passengers or crew members aboard the lifeboats. Unfortunately, most lifeboats failures occur as they are being improperly raised or lowered with crew members aboard them.

In September of 2016, two crew members were killed and other crew members were critically injured after a lifeboat fell from the Harmony of the Seas, which was docked in Marseilles, France. Five members of the ship’s navigation crew were on board during a drill when the lifeboat became detached and fell ten meters into the water.

Eight crew members were in a lifeboat during a drill in 2013 on the Thomson Majesty cruise ship when the lifeboat plunged 60 feet into the water. The lifeboat landed upside down. 5 of the crew were killed and 3 were injured.

In July of 2016, a rescue boat drill resulted in the boat falling into the water with four crew members from the Norwegian Breakaway while the cruise ship was in Bermuda. Two crew members were killed and two other seriously injured.

Between these two events, there have been several other lifeboat mishaps. In January of 2016, a cruise ship tender boat on the Balmoral operated by Fred Olsen Lines malfunctioned, during a scheduled boat training drill while the cruise ship was docked in Funchal, Madeira. Fortunately, no one was injured. In August 2015, an excursion boat from the Costa Mediterranea (photo right) apparently broke a cable while it was being lowered in Montenegro. Photographs sent to me shows what appears to be a lifeboat dangling on the side of the Costa cruise ship. In October 2014, a rescue boat on the Coral Princess was being raised on davits with two crew members aboard when a cable snapped and a crew member was killed.

There is a popular saying that lifeboat drills kill or seriously injure more people than save lives.

I first read about the Carnival Dream lifeboat failure in an article posted by the popular Cruise Hive blog.

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Photo credit: Mum’s Travel Blog and Heston Williams’ twitter page.

  • Dave

    When the onboard team is too lazy to check the lower compartment at the foundation of the block support this happens ( in time of course 0

    This kind of accident, happens little by little, crack by crack due to complete oversight or lack of willingness from the officers on board to read the actual regulations & follow the regulations + planned maintenance ( sometimes planned maintenance system misses some of the checks & that is why we open books and study )

    Check the foundation area of the block support for ( especially for overhanging boats )

    -> cracks in structure
    -> any distortion of the structure around the foundation

    -> check the welds that are not damaged or showing signs of collapse

    -> check the foundation bolts tighten torque ( how tight the bolt is, if it is still as per manufacturer limits )

    But to check this, you have to open compartments and go down and do a little bit more difficult things than a simple boat inventory and visual check of the visible structure

    Quality & level of officers onboard makes the whole difference !!!

    The entire team that takes care of the visual inspection ( usually Safety Team onboard ) should drop their licenses at the port authority and go practice some other job because it is criminal their lack of ability & oversight

    Think about that this would happen when doing tendering, with a tender just under !