Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., our primary mission is to help those who have been seriously injured at sea or in port due to the negligence of a cruise line, cargo vessel or personal water craft. The goal of each cruise ship accident lawyer at our firm is to assist victims and their loved ones in their fight to obtain justice for their pain and suffering. That being said, we also hope that through our efforts, the overall cruise ship accident rate will start to diminish – and quickly. There have been far too many accidents involving cruise ships in recent years and many of these incidents are a result of the operator’s lack of safety protocols. Whether it’s because a crew fails to properly maintain a ship in working condition, an operator’s inability to offer proper emergency training to its crew or a captain’s failure to take precautions when sailing in inclement weather conditions, the majority of accidents that occur on board cruise ships are the direct result of carelessness or negligence.
Fortunately, it is not only our hope, but the hope of all maritime safety organizations and safety advocates, such as U.S. Senator John “Jay” Rockefeller, that cruise lines will start to place greater importance on safety initiatives. Despite the growing number of accidents on the high seas – as well as the fact that the cruise industry is a multibillion-dollar operation with more than enough funding to allocate to safety measures – we continue to see a number of accidents occur in disturbing frequency, many of which are fatal. So, naturally, it came as a bit of a shock to us when we learned that there’s intentionally going to be an accident next week in the arctic.
Ok, let’s take a step back and analyze this for a second. A cruise ship accident is going to happen in the near future. It’s going to happen and we know this already with certainty. Sounds like a Tom Cruise movie? So, why are we not scared or furious at this fact?
Well, because it was planned by the Canadian military. Confused? Don’t worry, we’ll explain in a second.
If all goes according to plan, a cruise ship is going to experience issues on August 24 while sailing in a remote area of the Canadian Arctic. This is going to force all 300 passengers that will be on board to evacuate.
Perhaps we should clarify. This isn’t a real cruise ship accident. This mock catastrophe will be orchestrated by the Canadian military as part of their Operation Nanook project, a two-part search and rescue exercise that will be running from Aug. 20 through the 29 in the waters off the country’s northern coast. So, in other words, the Canadian military is planning to stage a cruise ship accident in order to train emergency responders on how best to deal with real life incidents that can occur in the harsh and inclement weather conditions experienced in the Arctic. Sounds like a pretty great plan to us.
The first exercise will involve a fishing vessel sailing in the Davis Strait. At some point, the vessel will send a call for help, which will trigger the mock search and rescue mission. The purpose of the exercise is to test the military responders’ ability to locate, evacuate and treat the “injured” fisherman on board. Of course, no one will actually be harmed in the simulation. The “injured” party will actually be a mannequin.
For the second exercise involving the cruise ship, a much more detailed operation will take place. A “distressed” ship will attempt to make an impromptu call on Iqaluit, the capital of the Canadian territory of Nunavut. However, unlike the first exercise which uses mannequins, the mock cruise ship accident will actually feature real civilians in order to add a layer of realism and complexity to the training so it can be as close to an actual emergency situation as possible.
This sounds like an excellent way to help improve safety, at least as far as emergency response goes. Check out part 2 of our blog to find out more about the initiative.
Published on August 19, 2014
Categories: Maritime Matter of the Week