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Cruise ship “safety” is a bad joke

Watching the owner of the sunk Italian cruise liner talk about how all his staff were “highly trained” in safety procedures, I had to laugh. I’m embarrassed to say that I have recently been on a cruise – seven days around Hawaii. Safety on the ship was a bad joke. For a start, were the ship to hit something, it’s probable that it would list over to one side. This makes half the lifeboats unusable as they cannot be lowered. Result – half the passengers have no hope of a place in a lifeboat. Then there are the crew. The crew consists of a few highly-paid officers and then more than a thousand workers from Third World countries like India and the Philipines. They are paid a pittance. Certainly not enough to sacrifice their lives so that a few fat Western tourists can get away in safety. Also they know there cannot be enough room in the lifeboats for everybody. So when things go tits up, in the rush for the boats, they can easily push their way past often elderly passengers, some of whom will have mobility problems.

The one thing Captain ‘Catastrophe’ Shittino (which I guess means “little shit” in Italian) did right was to steer his boat onto an island after it was holed. This allowed some passengers to swim ashore as half the lifeboats were unusable. If  Captain Catastrophe had not done that, there would be a thousand or more dead. So, if you ever take a cruise, remember there only enough lifeboats for about half the people on board. It’s survival of the fastest and fittest.

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