Our Travel Stories

We lost a life boat!!

Serious safety breaches on board The Carnival Dream Cruise Ship.

It’s hard to believe possible but today the Carnival Dream cruise ship lost a lifeboat in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico whilst sailing on a packed Christmas holiday cruise with c.4500 passengers & crew on board.

The lifeboat apparently literally sheered off from its fixed berth position and fell into the sea. If there is one good thing to be thankful for it is the fact that the design of this ship means that the lifeboats overhang the sea and are not overhanging decks as they do on many cruise ships otherwise the result of such an incident with passengers walking around the decks could have been unthinkable.

One of these port side lifeboats broke off its berth in calm seas

I, like many passengers didn’t see the lifeboat fall as at the time I was inside our cabin with my son, but somewhere around 2pm the ship started to circle back on itself and slowed right down to a stop. With a lifeboat spotted in the centre of the circle of wash and the crew spotted up on the bridge with binoculars many passengers quickly started speculating that we had a ‘man overboard’ and many were quickly on balcony and deck on the port side of the ship looking out for any sign of life in the water.

The ship circles and comes to a stop when it is realised a lifeboat has fallen into the sea

As the ship edged closer to the lifeboat the damage to it both at the front and back became evident for all to see and it was at this stage that it was a case of lifeboat overboard rather than a person (thankfully).

The ship got up close, only to then see the unmanned lifeboat float away again.

The ship pulls up aside the stricken vessel just before it drifts away again!

At this stage the first official passenger announcement was made that the ship had been stopped due to an ‘incident’ but that all passengers were safe and there was nothing to worry about.

Thankfully the water was incredibly calm and after a while a second lifeboat was launched with crew on board – one wielding a long stick which was used to pull the stray lifeboat along side and 3 crew members were transferred aboard to the sounds of cheers from the growing audience of passengers.

A 2nd lifeboat is launched in an attempt to retrieve the one adrift

The engines were started up on the stricken craft and it slowly made its way back towards the ship. We thought that would be the end of the drama, but alas no – with its fixings sheered off there was no way of raising it back onto the ship!!! They appeared to try and try without success. After an hour or so both vessels appeared to slowly make their way towards the rear of the ship, so I don’t know at this stage if they were considering towing it back but either way I guess it was an idea that was abandoned. Announcements came over the tannoy from both the Captain and Cruise Director saying they would update when they could. I felt for the Captain and the decisions he has to make under such circumstances – do you leave the lifeboat floating adrift and a risk to other ships, do you continue your passage now knowing you do not have enough lifeboats to save all of your passengers? That, along with 101 other questions I am sure were having to be asked.

After a total of just under 4 hrs, the light was fading and we were finally under way again. The Captains final announcement saying they had left the stricken lifeboat behind, to be picked up later by another ship (? coastguard). I guess it’s position is accurately recorded but I don’t know whether it was left with crew onboard or not. If it was then it must be pretty scary for them out in the darkness in a seriously damaged boat which appeared to be taking on water, or was it left unattended and drifting out of control?

Either way the question has to be asked – how can a lifeboat just fall off a modern day cruise ship in perfectly calm seas?

I wrote in my blog just yesterday that I wasn’t over impressed with my first Carnival Cruise, the ship looks old and tired but clearly has some serious maintenance and safety issues. It’s just a relief that no one was killed or injured as a result.

So tonight we are sailing back towards New Orleans with one lifeboat short, that’s seating for 150 passengers, but if an empty lifeboat can fall from its fixing, what’s the chances of one falling in an evacuation when having the weight of 150 passengers boarding – it doesn’t bear thinking about.

This will definitely be my first and last cruise aboard Carnival Cruises, they very clearly have some major safety issues and I write this blog to make others aware. The Carnival Dream could quickly become the Carnival Nightmare. I shall just go to sleep tonight with a little reassurance that Cameron and I might at least stand a chance of getting a seat in a lifeboat if the ‘women & children first’ rule still applies?

UPDATE – 31 December

Since initially writing this blog on the day of the incident I have been told (unofficially) by several people that the lifeboat fell because a teenager passenger accessed the winch and released one end of the lifeboat which in turn led to it being damaged and falling into the sea. Maybe slightly reassuring from the ship’s maintenance perspective, but still raises a major safety & security issue of how a teenager was able to so easily access a restricted crew area causing what I can only assume is $100,000’s of damage & expense and endangering lives of passengers at sea?

The damaged lifeboat back under the control of crew but no way of raising it back onto the ship.
Advertisements

17 thoughts on “We lost a life boat!!”

  1. You’re going to get a lot of followers now! I found this on my google timeline.
    Holy crap I cruise Carnival and always enjoy it. Don’t let this turn you away. The crew would never abandon a ship. Except for that one in Italy! Otherwise I hope you had a fantastic time. Better call John Heald you need free cruise.

    Like

    1. We still had a good cruise. The crew were all very good for the whole week and they handled they lifeboat incident very professionally. Some say the lifeboat broke off, others say it was a teenager who tampered with it, either way it is a major concern that either opinion could happen.

      Like

      1. We were looking at the damage and was definitely a lifeboat failure. From your pictures it looked like the hull and securing clamps sheared away. We heard the investigation was underway. Glad you a wonderful trip. Can’t wait to see more.

        Like

      2. The story with a teenager is hilarious :)), I believe it is an attempt of Carnval PR department to save face by spreading this kind of fake news

        Now, there is absolutely no way a lifeboat block support structure breaks off from the hull of the lifeboat in this way, unless it is a serious oversight of safety maintenance

        The block support is fixed, by welds and foundation bolts to the lifeboat structure. The block is the thing on which you connect the hook that comes from the wire

        For sure, nobody had entered in the lower compartment to go all the way forward & aft and check that there are no cracks around the foundation, that the bolts still have the same tighten torque.

        You want to sail with a company that you feel safe and actually makes their safety checks on all equipment, go with Celebrity Cruises

        Like

  2. No crew was left on the abandon life boat. It was stripped and left with a GPS tracker for a cargo ship to pick up. Instead of you stating that the lifeboat accidentally became unlatched from the ship, the real story is there was a teenager who snuck on deck 4 and unlatched it. Their parents were called out of bingo and she was detained . Nobody’s safety was in harm. They have plenty of rafts to make up the numbers from the missing boat. How about the $200k bill the parents will receive from carnival. The deck is clearly marked “crew only”.

    Like

    1. Unlatching the boat, will pull out the foundation of the block structure.
      You are either very funny or do not have a clue about boat construction

      This means that every time the boat are unlatched ( remove the securing lashings ) the hook structure would just break out

      If those parents receive the bill and do not counter sue the company for false pretense, they must the out of their minds

      Like

  3. My wife and I have been on three carnival cruises and haven’t been disappointed.Maintenance issues happen every where and some things that happen we always don’t have control over.This person who says it’s their first and last cruise…I hope you change your mind.Cruising is awesome and relaxing.

    Like

    1. I have cruised many times before and already have another 6 weeks booked for the next few months as we make our round the world trip. It was just my first cruise with Carnival line and probably my last as I didn’t feel they matched up to other cruise lines on many levels. That said, we still had a wonderful time.

      Like

  4. I would not let this turn me away from cruising carnival. They are not the only ones that’s had it happen to before. And there are plenty of life rafts for everybody so no one is left behind.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Carnival cruise ships just happen to get more in the news that other ships do….REGARDLESS of the reason(s). I’m starting to think they want to get in the “Ginness World recognition award” as having the MOST “entertaining events” such as this one, for the 2018 year!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The story with a teenager is hilarious :)), I believe it is an attempt of Carnval PR department to save face by spreading this kind of fake news or just find to put the blame on someone

    Now, there is absolutely no way a lifeboat block support structure breaks off from the hull of the lifeboat in this way, unless it is a serious oversight of safety maintenance

    The block support is fixed, by welds and foundation bolts to the lifeboat structure. The block is the thing on which you connect the hook that comes from the wire

    For sure, nobody had entered in the lower compartment to go all the way forward & aft and check that there are no cracks around the foundation, that the bolts still have the same tighten torque.

    You should not change the company you sail with, just make sure you never sail with that ship & most important with those officers still hired

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s