When embarking on a cruise, there are likely many topics on your mind. Will you enjoy the food? Will you spend time tanning beside the pool? Will the shore excursions pique your interest? But one issue that may not be as exciting to consider is: Will I be safe and does the crew know how to respond in the event of an attack?
As a maritime law firm, we are acutely aware of the many ways in which a dream vacation can go wrong. And while most cruises do go off without a hitch, it doesn’t hurt to make sure you and your cruise line know what to do in case of an emergency.
While you can ensure you are aware of the emergency exits and evacuation plans, it can be more difficult to know that your cruise line has done its homework to anticipate a worst case scenario. Most of the time, you are left having to trust that everyone on board has been properly trained.
However, a recent story out of London reveals a proactive approach to combatting potential terrorism at sea.
This week, more than 200 police officers conducted a practice response to a terrorist attack aboard a sightseeing cruise on the Thames. On Sunday morning, a City Cruises boat was the site of a mock gun battle, where police officers staged a hijacking that even included throwing a “body” overboard.
This was the first time that the police staged a live exercise on the water. The head of the Metropolitan public order command, Commander BJ Harrington, explained, “It’s important to point out that the exercise has not been designed in response to any specific threat.” The police have chosen to be proactive in this situation, based on recent terrorist incidents elsewhere in Europe.
Today, it’s increasingly important for authorities all over the world to understand what to do in the event of a terrorist attack, especially on the water. Thus, we’re glad to see that London is doing its part to protect tourists and citizens alike. With so much potential for violence, it’s unfortunately necessary to plan for the worst. Ultimately, it’s far better to be safe than to be sorry.
Safety Should Always Come First
However, we also know that not everyone is prepared for the unexpected. Whether its out of a lack of concern or a lack of desire to spend the resources in order to effectively prepare, too many cruises neglect to conduct these kinds of practice runs. And, as a result, individuals can become seriously injured or worse, should a situation spin out of control.
Wouldn’t you rather know that the people responsible for your safety have had the proper amount of time to learn how to do it, instead of being thrust into an emergency and being forced to react on the spot? We know we would. And we hope that law enforcement around the world might take this case as an example to encourage increased safety on the water.
That said, even the most well-crafted plan may fall through. And if you’ve been injured aboard a water vehicle, then a maritime attorney our team is here to help. We have over 100 combined years of experience, helping clients challenge a variety of major cruise lines in order to get the justice they deserve.
So if you have questions and are ready to take the next step, do not hesitate to contact us.