Lifeboats and Safety at Sea.

david
14th April 2006, 04:27
During the last few weeks there has been a considerable debate about Fires, Lifeboat drill, emergency exits and evacuation in aircraft,the fit, unfit and Disabled passengers on the high seas and in the air.
I thought that we may have a discussion about lifeboiats.
During a cruise recently on the Diamond Princess, as I had my walks around the boat deck UNDERNEATH the lifeboats, one could not be impressed by their size and number. There were 22 in all + 2 small "Zodiac" type runabouts.
Taking into consideration the published figures from the company it would appear that in case of emergency there would be room in each boat for 177 people [pax AND crew].Quite a crowd one would think.
This got me thinking about the amazing "Project Genesis", recently announced by RCCL which will carry 5400 passengers + crew!!
Taking figures published by RCCL about Crew/pax ratios one would expect a crew of about 2100 to run the ship. That equals SEVEN THOUSAND FIVE Hundred souls!!
A rendering of the ship on the aker yards website shows her with 18 large lifeboats + 2 of the aforementioned runabouts.
If the unthinkable happened and there had to be a mass evacuation of the entire compliment over FOUR HUNDRED into each boat would be an exercise in logistics that does not even bear contemplating. Like we are talking about numbers Greater than the capacity of a B747 Jumbo!! into EACH boat.
Excuse me.
Have I missed out on something, or do the SOLAS people, Naval Architects, Builders,the Coast Guard and other regulatory people know something they are not letting on about?
I would be pleased to hear form shipmates experienced or otherwise re this matter.
Regards,
David D.

dom
14th April 2006, 04:36
david its not so much as how many in each lifeboat,imagin the panic if there was a fire or collision,its ok for passengers on the top decks but down below those allyways would be a death trap.not my cup of tea.

vix
14th April 2006, 05:29
david its not so much as how many in each lifeboat,imagin the panic if there was a fire or collision,its ok for passengers on the top decks but down below those allyways would be a death trap.not my cup of tea.
Not too sure about the regulations today, but in my time the lifeboats were accompanied by liferafts and such-like: also there were supposed to be wooden seats that had quick release gear, that would act as a float (as long as it didn't land on you). All of these things added together were supposed to be sufficient to carry everyone on board. That doesn't answer the second part of the question though. When I came over here as a passenger on the Ellinis, I sussed out the quickest route from my cabin to the upperdeck, noted where the lifegear was, and prayed!! In that order, luckily He heard me!! Vix

Keltic Star
14th April 2006, 06:00
Vix is correct, it is a combination of lifeboats and life rafts under SOLAS regs. However, the evacuation question has a fearful answer. In my opinion, there is no way that 7,500 souls are going to remain calm and orderly.

Pompeyfan
14th April 2006, 09:57
I agree with all above, and like Vix when I am on a cruise I suss out the route to the Prom Deck where the lifeboats will be launched from. I have never been on Diamond Princess, but I assume the deck you were walking on David under the lifeboats was actually the Prom Deck, but I could be wrong. Certainly on all my ships, and Oriana and Aurora recently, the set up was the same with the boats housed above the Prom Deck. But I not only find the quickest route to the lifeboats, I also suss out where the Beaufort liferafts are. These are the cylinders found on all passengers ships large and small.

Dom Vix and Keltic Star all share my concern it seems. As a former seaman and coxswain of a lifeboat on Arcadia, I have seen nothing on current cruise ships to convince me that there will not be panic in an emergency. In the one and only passenger drill before sailing the muster station for my cabin was jam packed with people bumping into each other with their lifejacket. One woman gave me a swipe around my face with her lifejacket as she turned. Others asked on the way where they had to go. When I told them it was a public room on Prom Deck starboard side, they said: "Which floor and side of the ship is that?". There was confusion in an orderly situation which some saw as a joke because they had no idea had to put their lifejacket on.

I have been criticised in the past for being concerned about some cruise passengers today knowing nothing of shipboard terminology etc. But having seen what I have, nothing will convince me that there will not be mayhem if a ship has problems be fire or whatever. If there is plenty of time to tell passengers where to go in an orderly manner, and explain how to get there in language they understand, and put the lifejacket on for them(because some never did get the hang of it at the drill) then there should be no problem. But if there are only seconds to act, then I fear for their safety because cruise companies still has a lot to do in my opinion to tighten up on their safety drill for passengers and information given to them.

Having said that however, I still think cruising is one of the safest form of holidays you can have for both personal safety and safety of the ship because modern cruise ships are so well designed, very little can go wrong. And if it does, there will hopefully be no problems due to the modern design and other safety measures even for passengers who know nothing about ships. But as a former seaman and lifeboatman, I see the small things that in my opinion have been overlooked and could well be of critical importance when you have so many people scrambling through alleways as Dom says. If there is overcrowding at a normal drill, and some people not knowing how to put on a lifejacket, I honestly can see nothing but mayhem. But as always, nothing would please me more than to be totally wrong in my concerns.

As for your main thread David, I don't think the amount of people in one lifeboat matters, even if they bring in these monsters. My lifeboat carried over 100 passengers and crew. I can't remember the exact amount, but it was more than a 100. Once at the lifeboat you have experienced crew in charge. It is getting there that bothers me. David

vix
14th April 2006, 11:51
I agree with you Pompeyfan, the lifeboat boyancy tanks should be able to keep the lifeboat afloat whatever the amount of people in or around the boat. As for lifejackets, I know it is better to put one on, but in some cases it is just as good to jump and put the lifejacket on afterwards, the reason I say that is because the lifejackets we had when I first started were the old 4 cork slabs stitched into canvas; put them on and jump into the sea and you stood a good chance of breaking your kneck...we were told, by old hands who had been in those situations, what to do and I'm 99.9% sure they weren't joking. Once again we come to the 2nd part of the problem...if/when panic sets in it takes a very able person to bring order out of chaos...a very tall order when a ship is in trouble...trained seamen (and here I include all ratings) can save the day...it's been proven before...untrained personnel only add to the chaos...I agree with you entirely when you say a person/passenger should know the difference between for'ard and aft, port and starboard, uptop or downbelow etc. BUT they don't, they watch the Posieden Episode every christmas and think it's a dawdle! I can also envisage the panic that would ensue if a present day liner hit a submerged container...if it happened during the early hours of the morning there would be pandamonium...the alleyways would be far too narrow and...the rest would be consigned to history...just like the Titanic, Lakonia and many others. It doesn't bear thinking about. Vix

Frank P
14th April 2006, 11:54
"Project Genesis", Talking about evacuating 7500 passengers from these ships, I think that ships of this size would more or less permenantly be stationed in the Caribean Sea, and being there they would be near to land based rescue services, the Cruise companies will have taken that into account (I think).

I agree with most the above comments, people worried about mass evacuation complecations, it would be like trying to evacuate a small town.

Frank

vix
14th April 2006, 12:10
Hi Frank, I don't quite see how that would help, apart from the fact most ships could remain tied up during a hurricane? Most storms are charted about a week before they hit...maybe this is what you mean? Still wouldn't avoid the hitting of a submerged object? Remember the Wahine (great loss of life) and the Mikhael Lermantov (no loss of life?) [all jokes aside, I think that was the spelling?] Vix

mermaid
14th April 2006, 12:18
I have been reading these comments and others with interest since I joined this site, I think it goes without saying that if a major disaster occured at sea on a cruise ship there would be loss of life, I'm sure the people who take cruises realise this and are willing to take the risk, which as you all say is small. The same goes for aircraft, if one crashes the people onboard usually die, again its the chance you take. Busses, cars and trains the same. Of course it is good there are bodies who look into safety in all forms of travel, but why frighten ourselves, maybe the answer is to build a giant lifeboat, fit it out with cabins, dance floors and cafes. Then if a fire started we would already be in the lifeboat, oh I've just realised the flaw in this idea.

Willie Mac
14th April 2006, 12:18
What if a ship is listing over so far to one side that the lifeboats on the other side cannot be launched. I always thought that there had to be enough capacity, lifeboats and liferafts on either side to evacuate all passengers and crew.

vix
14th April 2006, 12:28
What if a ship is listing over so far to one side that the lifeboats on the other side cannot be launched. I always thought that there had to be enough capacity, lifeboats and liferafts on either side to evacuate all passengers and crew.
As far as I know, and I was told it all stemmed from the Titanic disaster, you are quite right, that is/was the idea of the wooden seats etc (there was a name for them, something like Norweigan life rafts because that is where they were thought of first?) The powers-that-be worked out how many people would fit in/on/around a lifeboat, liferaft, lifebuoy etc and then assured passengers there were more than double (enough each side) to suit? As I never had to put ir to the test...I can't say in reality whether it was true or not. Vix

Frank P
14th April 2006, 12:48
Hi Vix, If these large ships are ever built, what I am trying to say is, I think that because of their size they will only be cruising around a few of the Caribean Islands and never far from International help. I think that they would still have problems.

I personaly would never set foot on one of them, if you want to go on holiday with 7000 people, why not just go to a holiday resort. The large Caribean cruise ships of today never stay in port long enough to see anything and most of the Caribean Islands are similar. I am sure that if you spent the same amount of money on a expensive hotel/resort holiday you would also have a good holiday,

Cheers Frank

Pompeyfan
14th April 2006, 12:58
Should be no problem Willie Mac. This is part of what it says in my Survival At Sea Book which I had to learn before taking my lifeboat exam. I can't print it all as it is too lone, but this is bascially what it says for passenger ships.

(a) On each side of the ship lifeboats of sufficient total capacity to accommodate one and a half of the total number of persons the ship is certified to carry. (ii) Liferafts of sufficient capacity to accommodate 25 per cent of the toal number of persons the ship is certified to carry. (b) On each side of the ship lifeboats of suffiecent capacity to accommodate 37 per cent of the total number of persons the ship is certified to carry. (ii) Liferafts served by launching appliances (davits) of sufficient capacity to accomodate 50 per cent of the total numbers of persons the ship is certified to carry.

The list goes on, but in answer to your question Willy Mac, there is enough room in lifeboats and liferafts and other buoyant appartus mentioned to take all persons on board even if one side of the ship can't be used. This book and regulations has almost certainly been updated since we used it, but the same would apply no doubt?.

Every so often when first arriving in an American port for example, we had to to carry out a full drill, and was inspected for hygiene before they gave us a certificate which if memory serves me right, lasted 6 months. If we failed, we were not allowed in the next time until we satisifed their conditions. Part of the drill was to launch all the lifeboats on the seaward side. If my boat was that side, I had to take it down and around the harbour with all crew that would be in the boat in a real emergency. The only thing missing was the passengers. If memory again serves me right, the authorities would have known that only one side of the ship could launch the boats in certain conditions and would have enough capacity on one side. We carried out the same drill in front of British authorities in Southampton when we signed articles for a new line voyages. These voyages usually lasted four months or more.

So the bottom line is that people will still be able to get off the ship if only one side can be used. David

vix
14th April 2006, 13:03
Hi Vix, If these large ships are ever built, what I am trying to say is, I think that because of their size they will only be cruising around a few of the Caribean Islands and never far from International help. I think that they would still have problems.
I personaly would never set foot on one of them, if you want to go on holiday with 7000 people, why not just go to a holiday resort. The large Caribean cruise ships of today never stay in port long enough to see anything and most of the Caribean Islands are similar. I am sure that if you spent the same amount of money on a expensive hotel/resort holiday you would also have a good holiday,
Cheers Frank
Touche Frank, I totally agree, I had to go through a local holiday resort at Christmas, Paihia in the Bay of Islands NZ, I thought I was back in a nightmare on Barry Island, [or Weston-super-Mare (as long as the tide's in otherwise it's Weston-upon-Mud!)] searching for a bum-space-just-to-sit-on my-own-[folded-up] towel-space! My idea of a holiday is like being on a desert island! As for going on a cruise ship...especially the top heavy looking uglies of today...no thank you!! Vix

Pompeyfan
14th April 2006, 13:06
Lucky you Vix going to Paihia?!. David

vix
14th April 2006, 23:09
Lucky you Vix going to Paihia?!. David
Sorry David, I didn't go to...I went through...heading for a beautiful spot called English Bay...where I have relos...much better than Paihia!! LOL Vix

fred henderson
15th April 2006, 01:22
The SOLAS regulations require that the lifeboats and liferafts on one side of the ship have sufficient capacity for the entire number of people on board. On passenger ships large liferafts play an important part in the evacuation plan and modern ships also have inflatable slides, like aircraft.
Lifeboats have to be able to be lowered from the high side of a listing ship, with a maximum list of 20 degrees and a trim of 10 degrees. An enclosed lifeboat must have sufficient stability to be self righting. All launching systems are designed so that no power is needed from the ship's systems to lower a lifeboat.
As far as the submerged container problem is concerned it should be remembered that a cruise ship or conventional ferry is a full displacement vessel. As it moves through the sea it carries with it a body of water that is about the same as the volume of the ship. This water will start to deflect the container long before the bow arrives. At worst it is likely to be a glancing blow, and a ship's shell plating is very much thicker than the construction of a container. Fast ferries that plane or use wave piercing technology are more at risk and perhaps some of our members would like to comment. As I understand things, their greatest concern is submerged gas bottle.

Fred

Keltic Star
15th April 2006, 07:44
Hi Vix, If these large ships are ever built, what I am trying to say is, I think that because of their size they will only be cruising around a few of the Caribean Islands and never far from International help. I think that they would still have problems.
......

Cheers Frank

Agree with you that Caribbean would be the major market but all of the islands together could not muster up enough air sea rescue to be of any significant assistance. They mainly rely on the USCG who have limited resources in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The other hot market is Alaska, just hope they design enough storage space for 7,500 survival suits into the ship as without one you won't last more than a twenty minutes.

Frank P
15th April 2006, 11:14
Agree with you that Caribbean would be the major market but all of the islands together could not muster up enough air sea rescue to be of any significant assistance. They mainly rely on the USCG who have limited resources in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The other hot market is Alaska, just hope they design enough storage space for 7,500 survival suits into the ship as without one you won't last more than a twenty minutes.

I agree with you that there are other markets, I did the Alaskan cruises (5 of them) and when I was there, they only ran in the summer.
How would these monsters get to the West Coast, they will not fit through the Panama Canal, and I doubt that you would find 5000 passengers willing to go round South America part/full cruise. To send a ship of such a size around South America for a 3 month Summer Season, I don't think that it would be ecconomical, (but you never know).

Frank

fred henderson
15th April 2006, 14:06
Frank.
I am sure that you are correct about the operating area for Aker Finyards Ship Number 1363, when she joins Royal Carribbean in September 2009. She will almost certainly go into service on the milk run, Miami to Mexico via the RCCL beach resort on Haiti. Seven day round trip, 52 weeks a year.
One or two of the current RCCL Voyager Class giants (137,000 grt, 3,840 pax/max) are now spending the summer in European waters.
The only Post-Panamax cruise ships operating to Alaska in the summer belong to Princess and they operate within the Pacific for the rest of the year.

Fred

Keltic Star
16th April 2006, 07:02
I agree with you that there are other markets, I did the Alaskan cruises (5 of them) and when I was there, they only ran in the summer.
How would these monsters get to the West Coast, they will not fit through the Panama Canal, and I doubt that you would find 5000 passengers willing to go round South America part/full cruise. To send a ship of such a size around South America for a 3 month Summer Season, I don't think that it would be ecconomical, (but you never know).

Frank

The "Queen Mary II" is now pioneering the Horn route. Don't forget, cruiselines are desperate for new routes to attract the repeat customers and the adventure cruiser. But I would hate to pay the fuel bill.