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I understand from various reports that the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch wil not be involved in the investigation of the fatal accident on Thomson Majesty. The position is complex: the ship is apparently Cypriot-owned and flagged in Malta, and the accident happened in Spain. Furthermore the cruise departed from a Spanish port, and visited only Spanish, Portuguese and Moroccan ports. Although most, if not all, of the passengers were British, the cruise did not call at a UK port and therefore the MAIB has decided that it is simply not within their jurisdiction.

The investigating bodies will be from the governments of Spain and Malta, together with the Classification Society. (No, I don’t understand what that means either.)

3 Responses to “Thomson Majesty accident investigation”

  1. HELLO
    AM TAKING A CRUISE ON THIS SHIP STARTING ON 22/2/13 HAVE NO IDEA WHAT CAUSED THIS INCIDENT WAS IT HUMAN ERROR OR A FAILURE OF THE LIFE SAVING EQUIPMENT, WOULD BE NICE IF THOMSON COULD PROVIDE AN ASSURANCE THAT NO SHORT CUTS HAVE BEEN TAKEN WITH SAFETY MEASURES AND THERE HAS BEEN NO CONFUSION AROUND WHO HAS CERTIFIED THAT THIS SHIP IS SEA WORTHY

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the comment, Des.

      We’ll have to wait for the full accident report, from whoever produces it. The Maltese authorities have the responsibility of doing so, but whether they’ll do it themselves or call in another authority, I don’t know.

      One thing we do know is that the Spanish authorities, in whose waters the accident happened, have investigated the ship thoroughly, especially the lifeboat equipment. I have read accounts of exhaustive examinations and tests of all the lifeboat equipment in the harbour, including tests of the cables used for lowering the lifeboats with very heavy weights – I’ve read about very large containers full of water (and therefore very heavy) being suspended from the cables. I think we can assume that the equipment must have passed these tests, or the Spanish authorities wouldn’t have allowed the ship to leave for Tenerife. And of course by the time you embark she will have have completed this week’s cruise.

      I think we can take reassurance from the Spanish authority’s tests. Although the cruise is in their waters they’re not really involved – the passengers aren’t Spanish and the ship isn’t registered by them, so they have nothing to lose by taking a hard line, yet they passed her fit.

  2. Malcolm Oliver says:

    The Guardian coverage was interesting:

    A spokesman for Nautilus International, a trade union for seafarers, said lifeboat drills had a prior record of being notoriously dangerous.

    Andrew Linington said: “There’s been research which suggests that more people are dying in lifeboat drills than are being saved by lifeboats. It’s that serious.

    “The death toll has been such that we advise our members: if you’re doing a drill the drill is about raising and lowering the lifeboats. It shouldn’t be about people actually getting into them. We advise them to do it without people in the lifeboats.”

    An investigation into the issue in 2001 by Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch found 15% of all deaths involving professional seafarers involved lifeboat drills, totalling 12 deaths over 10 years, with 87 more people injured.

    Linington said the danger was caused by a variety of factors including the heights involved, corroded equipment being poorly maintained, unclear instructions and poor crew training.

    Malcolm: So it sounds like the crew did not even need to be in the life-boats which must make the accident the Masters responsibility. Imagine the loss of life if the lifeboat had been full of passengers in an emergency situation. It sound like poor maintenance, as I’ve seen an image of a snapped cable from the davit. I guess ultimately that Master is also responsible for this?

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