In the latest sign of an industywide crackdown on safety, another cruiser has been kicked off a ship for not attending a safety drill.
Industry watcher Cruise Week today reports that an 84-year-old woman and her 90-year-old husband were escorted off the Seabourn Sojourn this week after the woman refused to attend the mandatory safety briefing that is held at the start of every voyage.
The subscription-only newsletter says the couple were on the second leg of a three-leg trip on the 450-passenger luxury vessel, suggesting that they already had attended a safety drill on the earlier leg of the trip. The husband attended the drill, but his wife said she didn't feel well and had done it before, Cruise Week says.
The unusual incident comes in the wake of new, tighter safety policies on ships following the Costa Concordia accident in January that already has resulted in at least one other cruiser being removed from a vessel. In late January, Holland America removed a passenger from the 1,916-passenger Westerdam for "non-compliance" with a safety drill.
Cruise line policies on passenger safety drills came under intense scrutiny after the Jan. 13 Costa Concordia accident, which resulted in 32 deaths. At the time of the accident, there were nearly 700 passengers on the ship who had not received a safety briefing. The passengers, who had joined the vessel in Civitavecchia, Italy just hours before it struck rocks and partly sank, had been scheduled to receive a safety briefing the next day.
Under rules established by the International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency, passenger ships must hold passenger safety drills within 24 hours of embarkation. After the accident, major cruise lines around the world announced they always will hold safety drills immediately after embarkation before ships set sail.
By Gene Sloan, USA Today