One seafarer is dead and another injured following the fall of a lifeboat (Initial reports referred to a rescue craft) while being recovered aboard the Bermuda-flagged cruise ship Corel Princess in Colon, Panama. An investigation is underway and the full circumstances are not yet known but the incident will certainly bring attention to long-standing concerns regarding the safety of fast rescue craft/fast rescue boats in recent years.
In a statement quoted on the Cruiselaw website Princess cruises says: ““On October 24 two of our crew members were in one of the ship’s rescue boats doing some maintenance work on the hull of Coral Princess. When the boat was being raised back onboard the ship, one of the cables that raises and lowers the boat parted, and the boat dropped back into the water with our two crew members inside.‘
Such incidents occur with frightening frequency. In the case of the Tombarra FRC incident an overweight FRC, due to water incursion into the craft’s bouancy foam, ledfing to falls parting and a non-working proximity switch led to a demand by the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Board to the lifesaving appliance manufacturers organisation ILAMA to address problems with davit and boat safety..
In 2012 Demark’s Maritime Authority said: “In recent years, the shipping industry has experienced an unacceptable number of serious accidents during abandon ship drills and fire drills” after an FRC incident on the Anna Maersk which killed one seafarer and seriously injured another. Incidents include the fall of an FRB from the containership Tombarra in February 2011, the injury of three seafarers due to an FRB falling from British Cormorant in 2010, three injuries when an FRB fell from the Viking Discovery in 2007, and similar incidents involving FRB falls aboard British Sapphire in 2011 due to failure of an interlock.
t will take time for an invesigation to be completed and the causes of this particular incident understood. MAC does not expect the report to contain any issues that are new, unusual, or unknown but they will have been unaddressed.