Splendor of the Seas engine room fire - no E.R. drill in six months

Correction as pointed out below, this is about the Carnival Splendor - the ship that lost power off a couple days out of Los Angeles on a cruise down the coast of Mexico. Should not have been typing and watching football at the same time. Splendor of the Seas was not involved in this story.

the Just read a New York Times article about the 2010 engine room fire on (Edit:) “Carnival Splendor” [U][B]No engine room fire drill for six months![/B][/U]

From the article: “The investigation found a wide range of problems with the engine’s maintenance history as well as missing fire safety records. No fire drills had been conducted in the engine room for six months. Emergency sprinklers were turned off by mistake and then doused the wrong parts of the engine room. Believing the fire had been contained, the captain vented the engine room to clear out the smoke. He reignited the fire instead.”

A big problem with the cruise ship industry lies in the home office. Too few people understand what is happening on the boat if it is not directly related to custormer service. The cruise ship industry is primarily concerned with filling the boat. And the name of the game is marketing - how many portsof call can you schedule for the cruise?

The crew works their butt off and never is caught up with maintenance. Officers spend hours writing ridiculous reports for the home office that no one will ever read. Drills put people further behind in their other jobs. Want to spend time to make sure a thousand people understand their rolls in a safety drill? How much time is allowed for the entire drill? 30 minutes? Is there analysis and questions afterwards? Any later follow-up? Probably not. That would take even more time. Again, (edit:) Carnival Splendor did not have an engine room fire drill in over six months.

Add to that the deckhand or service staff who is flown half way around the world to join the ship where he/she will hopefully learn the ship’s official language. In the meantime everything they are told during emergency drills is in one ear and out the other.

So - big surprise when a real emergency occurs with thousands of passengers and things are screwed up.

I was on a much smaller ship. Only 60 crew. We dropped our lifeboats almost every day - not once every three months. Man overboard drills were often unannounced. Fire and abandon ship drills were every week - not every month. Every deckhand stood a night watch. There were countless opportunities for training and education. And yet there always things that could be done better.

I am not trying to justify a big cruise ship not having an engine room drill in six months. That was ridiculous. But I can understand how it can happen.

In my opinion, those drills should be held every other week in every part of the ship this at a heightened risk for fire. That includes galleys, laundry and AC rooms as well as engine rooms, etc…, But that could cause a further slowdown in other paperwork, afternoon tea and paint projects. And that is going to have to have full support of the home office.

Perhaps if the cruise industry stopped reducing crew numbers so they can convert more and more crew quarters to passenger cabins and didn’t schedule 9 ports in 7 days, the crews might be in better trained and better equipped to handle actual emergencies.

Or fly the Stars and Stripes

The stars and stripes - certainly no questions of inconsistencies or deviations from the norm on cruise ships flying the stars and stripes. But then the US cruise industry consists of only a single ship that calls on the same five ports year after year. Not quite the same.

That was Carnival Splendor not Splendor of the Seas. Completely different company, completely different thought process on safety.