General Travel News

Huge size of cruise liners a safety risk

Luxury liner Costa Concordia may be big enough to house swimming pools and restaurants, but its very size might have complicated evacuation and rescue efforts,.

“What jumps out at me is the size of this liner,” said Jacques Loiseau, chairman of the French Association of Ship Captains.

The association had regularly tried to draw attention to the dangers posed by the tendency towards ships of such a vast scale, he said.

“Even in the best conditions, with such size you’ll never be able to save everyone.”

Measuring 290 metres (950 feet) by 38 metres, the Costa Concordia was carrying some 4,200 passengers and crew when it hit rocks just off the Tuscan island of Giglio on the evening of Friday the 13th.

Six people were killed and around 16 were still missing in the disaster.

But the ship was by no means the largest cruise liner in use — others can carry up to 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crew.

As travel companies opt for ever bigger vessels to cater to the needs of ever more passengers, authorities are increasingly concerned.

“The considerable increase in the number of passengers onboard the ships has led to new security and safety constraints,” the North Atlantic Coast Guard Forum of 20 countries says in a document issued during a simulation exercise.

In case of an accident on such cruises, “the evacuation and the recovery of passengers will become very complex operations with a very significant risk of losses of human lives”.

“In case of distress, it would be difficult for a single country to rapidly provide all necessary means” to rescue those aboard, it added.

In an exercise last September, the forum simulated a fire on a large ferry carrying 5,000 people between the north-eastern coast of France and a British port.

What was starkly apparent was the complexity of evacuating thousands stranded at sea.

At sea, “we can evacuate 10 or 20 people by helicopter,” said Atlantic maritime officials. “But 2,000 or 3,000 passengers would be impossible.”

Beyond the sheer numbers of people, the mix of languages spoken and the diversity of cultures could further complicate rescue efforts.

“It is a determining factor in important times. A lot of training is required” to overcome this obstacle because panic hinders communication, said Loiseau.

“The instructions must be repeated in several languages used by passengers and, among the crew members, we often have problems finding the right words in such situations,” said Loiseau.

The Costa Concordia was carrying people from 60 nationalities when disaster struck.

More General Travel News
Swiss Belhotel to open 4 new hotels in the GCC
Abu Dhabi and Wizz Air announce establishment of new low cost airline
Emirates touches down in Mexico City
Latest Travel News
Abu Dhabi and Wizz Air announce establis...
Emirates touches down in Mexico City...
Air Arabia named as Middle East and Afr...
Featured Sights To See
The Saigon Opera House

The Saigon Opera House

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Also known as the Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theatre, the Opera House is a beautiful example of French Colonial architecture from 1897. The 3-story, 1,800-seat opera house stages a variety of concerts not limited to opera, including ballet, classical and pop music and traditional Vietnamese performances. The square outside is a great place to relax and people watch. Location: Intersection of Le L...

Thien Hau Pagoda

Thien Hau Pagoda

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The Thien Hau Pagoda is a must-visit in Cholon. It is dedicated to the Chinese goddess Thien Hau, who is known as the protector of seafarers. Regular festivals are held here and the place is always packed with worshippers while the smell of incense hangs in the air. Location: Thien Hau Pagoda                Nguyen Trai district, Quan Am on Lao Tu St...

Ashkan Mountain

Ashkan Mountain

Tehran, Iran

has paintings done on leveled rock of Sassanid kings and Qajar Shahs. ...

Old Man Mo Temple

Old Man Mo Temple

Hong Kong, China

Old Man Mo Temple located on Hollywood Road was built in 1848 and is the oldest and most well known temple of Hong Kong. It pays tribute to Man Tai, the god of Literature and Mo Tai, the god of war whose images are found inside. Many throng this temple and burn incense sticks. It is believed that physical strength and intelligence is granted in the worship here.  ...