On Tuesday, September 13, 2016, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's cruise ship Harmony of the Seas experienced a lifeboat malfunction during a safety drill while docket at Marseille, France. The lifeboat became detached, falling a distance of 33 feet (10 meters) from deck 5 into the sea.
Five crew members were in a lifeboat on the portside the ship, during the safety drill, four were injured, two were critically injured and one crew member died as a result of his injuries. The dead crew member, age 42, was from the Philippines.
La Provence, the local newspaper reported, “One person has died and four suffered multiple injuries with two in a critical condition and two seriously hurt but stable," said a spokesman for Marseille’s marine emergency service. “The lifeboat became detached” from the boat."
Harmony of the Seas embarked on a 7 Night Western Mediterranean Cruise from Barcelona, Spain Sunday September 11 at 1800 hours, then arrived the next day at Palma De Mallorca, Spain, before arriving on Tuesday at Marseille, France. Harmony of the Seas then sailed onto La Spezia, Italy, Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy and Naples, Italy before returning to Barcelona on September 18.
Harmony of the Seas was launched June 19, 2015. While typical incidents in the past have been the result of parts corroding, this ship is only a year old. The cause may very well be a result of a manufacturing flaw, nothing the crew or cruise line could have prevented.
The cruise ship carries up to 6,780 passenger and 2,300 crew members on 16 decks. Harmony of the Seas has seven neighborhoods, Central Park, Royal Promenade, Boardwalk, Pools, Spa & Fitness, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone.
Features of particular note are the Central Park, The Bionic Bar, Ultimate Abyss, Rising Tides Bar, Studio B Ice Rink, Zip line and Perfect Storm slides.
Earlier this year, a Norwegian Cruise Line's (NCL) Norwegian Breakaway crew member died during a lifeboat safety drill
in Bermuda. Diogenes Carpio, 41, from the Philippines who died as a result of his injures, was injured along with three other crew members around noon on July 20, 2016.
Two years ago, on Friday, October 24, 2014 while Coral Princess was in Colon, Panama, crew member Husnan Fauzan was killed and another injured following the fall of a lifeboat during a safety drill.
Three years ago, on Sunday, February 10, 2013, a lifeboat drill accident aboard Thomson Majesty while docked in Santa Crux de La Palma in the Canaries, killed five crew members, three others were injured, two of them severely. Thomson Majesty was on a seven day cruise which had started in Tenerife on February 8 and was scheduled to end on February 15 after calling at Funchal, Agadir and Arrecife.
The davit-launched lifeboat fell while being recovered from the water towards the end of the drill. The investigation report into the incident found, "The fall of the lifeboat was the result of a parted wire rope fall that was caused by severe internal corrosion at the break point and the level of knowledge and skills, which the crew members had, for instance, to analyse the condition of the wire rope, did not allow them to achieve problem recognition."
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