Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Deathboats, Cont’d

January 30th, 2013 · 1 Comment

Lifeboat AccidentA treasured microblog correspondent alerted us to this heap of bad news from the maritime realm: cruise-ship crews will henceforth be receiving more lifeboat training than ever before. This decision by the Cruise Lines International Association was surely made with the best of intentions, as the organization doesn’t want a repeat of the chaos that marred the evacuation of the Costa Concordia last January. But as previously discussed on Microkhan, lifeboat drills are invariably far more lethal than the disasters they’re supposed to guard against. Let us quote once more from this damning report:

In 2001 the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) studied the UK’s merchant fleet accident reports for ten years and it showed that alongside entering confined spaces and falling overboard, lifeboat practice was the most dangerous area of operation. Sixteen per cent of fatalities happen during lifeboat drill – one death in eight – a chilling statistic.

MAIB concluded that there were major three factors in lifeboat training accidents which in the studied decade killed 12 seafarers and injured a further 87. Ironically over the same period they did not record one single instance where someone was saved by a lifeboat.

The report emphasized deficiencies in lifeboat design, maintenance and training. Their findings were confined to UK waters and therefore only pointed towards the global problem, but they were backed up by the Norwegian and Australian authorities with their separate investigations coming to similar conclusions. The Norwegians estimate that globally there are about 214,000 drills a year causing 1,000 accidents and as many as half causing fatalities.

The fact that this data is so difficult for policy makers to process speaks volumes about the limits of human decision making.

(Image via Martin’s Marine Engineering Page)


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One Comment so far ↓

  • Captured Shadow

    Life boat drills – you’re doing them wrong.

    It seems reasonable that a drill would help in a real emergency but somehow the drills are not taken seriously and then accidents occur.

    Or maybe the inherent use of lifeboats is so dangerous that they should give them up. Like giving everyone on a jet a parachute and running a parachute drill every year with no preparation……