Safety measures "shambolic" after cruise liner's 2nd accident


5 crewmen died and 3 were injured in a cruise liner accident off the Canary Isles after a lifeboat's safety ropes snapped. The tragedy was the 2nd to befall the luxury vessel in its 22-year history.

Cruise Ship Accident

The lifeboat fell almost 70 feet into the sea from the upper deck of the Thomson Majesty during a routine drill. The lifeboat was understood to have capsized and trapped the 8 victims.

5 of the men – a Filipino, a Ghanaian and 3 Indonesians – were drowned, despite the efforts of fellow crew members to save them.

The 3 survivors were able to jump away before the boat hit the water. 2 of the men, both Greeks, are receiving hospital treatment for serious injuries, while a Filipino has been discharged.

The luxury liner, which carries 1,462 passengers, was on a 6-hour stopover for a carnival at the town of Santa Cruz de la Palma. With most passengers ashore at the festival, the accident happened just before 12am.

According to witnesses, a hoist cable snapped as the crew started to lower the lifeboat as part of a safety check – mandatory at every stopover for cruise liners in the wake of the Costa Concordia incident.

The lifeboat, with the 8 crew on board, hung vertically for a moment before the 2nd cable gave out. The craft then plunged 6 decks to the surface.

The accident was the liner's 2nd tragedy since entering service in 1992. In March 2010, 2 passengers died when the vessel, at that time called the Louis Majesty, was hit by a huge wave in the Mediterranean. The renamed Thomson Majesty made its maiden voyage for Thomson Cruises in summer 2012.

The company said it was investigating the accident to the ship, which tours the Greek islands and the Mediterranean and is managed for the operator by Louis Cruises.

"There was an incident involving the ship's crew during a safety drill," Thomson said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with the families of those involved. We are working closely with the ship owners and managers to determine exactly what has happened.

"We are also working closely with all relevant authorities and will be co-operating fully with their investigations."

Since the accident, a former passenger has questioned the 40,876-tonne Thomson Majesty's safety measures. Terry Dobbins, 75, watched the "shambolic" drill when he was recently aboard the liner.

"The lifeboat was coming half way down, then lurching to a halt," Mr Dobbins said. "They were bouncing in mid air. The winches were seizing up. It was really worrying. I'm not sure if I would go back. Our lives are in their hands."

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