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Five Dead in Maritime Safety Drill Disaster

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Five crew members died after a lifeboat fell from a cruise ship when cables snapped during a routine safety drill in the Canary Islands.

The lifeboat flipped upside down and fell 20 metres into the ocean, killing the five and injuring three more, during the rescue exercise on the Thomson Majesty cruise liner, which was docked at the pier of Santa Cruz on La Palma.

The dead were three Indonesians, a Filipino and a Ghanaian.

There were 1,498 passengers on board the 20-year-old ship at the time, a Thomson Cruises spokesman said. None of them was involved in the accident. The ship is registered in Malta and owned by Cyprus-based cruise line Louis Cruises.

Safety tests on lifeboats are a significant source of accidents, according to a report by Britain's Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

"We are working closely with the ship owners and managers, Louis Cruises, to determine exactly what has happened and provide assistance to those affected by the incident," Thomson Cruises said in a statement.

In Britain, the general secretary of the RMT shipping union called for better safety standards.

Union leader Bob Crow said in a statement: "The thoughts of all seafarers will be with the friends and families of those who have lost their lives in this tragic incident.

"Once again the spotlight is on the issue of safety in the UK shipping and cruise industry and RMT awaits the outcome of the investigation and recommendations that can prevent any repetition of today's shocking events."

Posted by ABC News 10/2/13


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