Cruise Ship Disaster Management Needs an Overhaul
The recent Carnival Triumph cruise disaster became a major news item when the ship’s engine rooms caught fire off the coast of Mexico, leaving the engine room flooded and the ship steering helplessly without any propulsion or control. The cruise experienced loss of power leading to the doors being slammed shut and the toilets stopped working. The passengers had to live with these uncomfortable and unhygienic conditions for the entire trip while the ship was towed ashore at the Alabama Cruise Terminal.
Not the first time
This is not the first time that Carnival has had such a disaster. In 2010, Carnival’s Splendor had a similar incident. An engine room fire left the cruise with no power. The ship drifted off to the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Finally, the USS Ronald Reagan had to ferry about 60,000 pounds of supplies for the cruise’s passengers and tow it to San Diego.
What this means for Carnival
Due to this recent disaster, Carnival has had to cancel several cruises that were set between late February and mid-April. To date, they have had to cancel 14 trips. The media coverage of the event has also meant that the reputation of Carnival has taken a severe beating and most passengers are highly unlikely to return for another cruise with Carnival or even recommend it. It would not be an exaggeration to say the public confidence in Carnival is at an all-time low.
Carnival did get certain things right during the disaster
Although most passengers were thoroughly disgusted by the conditions they had to endure, there were some who were appreciative of the attitude of the staff. The crew gave only enough information to the passengers so that they did not panic and stayed calm. Some passengers also praised the efforts of the crew who worked long shifts to keep them as comfortable as possible. Triumph will also be giving their passengers $500 extra along with a full refund for the cruise.
Measures to avoid future disasters
The incident has brought to light the need to bring about uniform standards for safety and inspection, which currently vary from country to country. The emergency systems of the ships must be overhauled to provide passengers the minimum hygienic conditions. There is also a need to look into the ship designs to make future cruises safer.