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
Eid Mubarak to all Irhal visitors
Experience the peaks near Lausanne Switzerland
Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi launches summer camp for children
Latest Travel News
Emirates voted ‘Best Business Airline’ a...
Tourism to contribute SR118 billion to S...
Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi to celebrate M...
Featured Sights To See
Frederikshavn Citadel (Kastellet)

Frederikshavn Citadel (Kastellet)

Copenhagen, Denmark

The oldest military was established in 1626 by King Christian IV. The old Citadel was refurbished and made into a church and a prison. According to tradition, tourists and local’s alike walk around these places before their The Day of Prayer (Store Bededag) and after the walk then eat a special kind of bread called “Hveder”. Address: Kastellet - The Old Citadel, 2100 Copenhagen Ø Busses: ...

Mazar-e- Quaid

Mazar-e- Quaid

Karachi, Pakistan

This is the final resting place of the Father of the Nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Its construction started soon after his death in 1948, and it was completed in the 1960's. Made of white marble, this is undoubtedly the most well-known landmark of Karachi, being featured in pictures and media whenever Karachi is mentioned. The mausoleum building is surrounded by a large park which was until recentl...

Pigeon Rocks

Pigeon Rocks

Beirut, Lebanon

The Pigeon Rocks are huge natural formations off the coast of the Corniche andone of the symbols of Beirut.  They stand out like sentinels in the sea. Walking and jogging on this seaside promenade are popular activities. There are a number of restaurants serving local and foreign cuisines and cafés offering a variety of snacks. The shores near Pigeon Rocks have yielded the oldest evidence we ...

Romanian Athenaeum

Romanian Athenaeum

Bucharest, Romania

To see Romanian architecture at its best, visit the Athenaeum concert hall one evening. The domed white building is ornate in its style and glamour and is host to various events and mega concerts in Bucharest. It was inaugurated in 1988 and today houses around 800 people at a time. In the park outside there is also a statue of a Romanian poet to depict the history that is attached to the building....