Marine Evacuation Systems for ferries etc

Several types of MES are available:

Anybody here with experience or opinions on these systems?

I think a couple of people have been killed in training accidents on the vertical drop tubes, they get bent double somehow and choke.
I’ve watched a few deployments of chutes and slides and they go out quite quickly.

Here is one that went off in the wrong place at the wrong time:

From every demonstration I’ve seen, they work wonderfully on calm sunny days when you’re tied to the dock.

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Wimps! Try doing this drill in the deep end of the swimming pool! That’ll separate the Men from the Boys!!

Yes training takes place in calm water to reduce risk to the trainees and equipment, but has anybody any knowledge of the functionality in real evacuations?

Or If there have been any case(s) of MES being used in real situations? It appears that these days most real evacuations are done by helicopter winching.

PS>In many cases prematurely due to “pressure” from the rescue service/authorities.

NTSB report discusses the August 17, 2016, fire aboard the roll-on/roll-off passenger vessel Caribbean Fantasy. The fire began in the main engine room when fuel spraying from a leaking flange came in contact with a hot surface on the port main propulsion engine. The fire could not be contained, so the master ordered the ship to be abandoned. MES was deployed with several issues resulting in multiple injuries to passengers and crew.

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It looks like there were several problems during this evacuation in calm weather and close to a port with rescue facilities available. (Not all of those with the MES)

The reason I raised this question was looking at the new cruise ships that call here In Ă…lesund these days and the pax they carry. Some have upward of 5000 Pax and crew onboard, many of them elderly and/or infirm and lacking any training in abandonment.

I don’t know how many of those ships have MES in place and working, with well trained crews to oversee their use in an evacuation, but it striks me that the old saying that; “the ship is your best lifeboat” has even more validity today.

I watch in real time the evacuation from the Viking Sky in March 2019 and realized that to evacuate a ship, even of that size (930 Pax), would have been impossible if she had actually ended up on the rocks.
In this case 479 of the 1373 person onboard was evacuated by helicopters, being winched off in high wind in an operation that took several hours. Nobody got hurt in the evacuation.

IMO has adopted a resolution and the major classification societies has implemented a notation called; “safe return to port”, which I think is a better idea than any number of MES:

PS> Viking Sky was built to meet the SRtP requirements.

Comments please…

I recall a test the Navy did on one of these with a couple hundred Marines. Getting them off the ship was no problem. Getting them back on the ship…that was a problem. IIRC, they ended up wading to shore and then going back to the pier.

The purpose of MES is to get OFF a sinking ship quickly.
If you need to get back onboard, maybe the “Abandon Ship” order was given too early??

It was a test to see if a given number could get off in a given period of time. One of those things that wasn’t thought ALL the way through…and that you laugh about years later.