ITF urges action following lifeboat drill deaths


ITFThe International Transport Workers’ Federation has urged the International Maritime Organization to finalise preventative measures following the death of five people during a lifeboat practice on the cruise ship Thomson Majesty while docked in the Canary Island of La Palma on Sunday.

Commenting on the loss, Bjorn-Erik Kristoffersen, the ITF’s representative on the lifeboat working group of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee, said: “This is a sad and awful accident, made doubly so because it happened during a drill whose whole reason is to safeguard lives. These accidents are all too common, and dramatically show that this is a recurring problem.”

 He continued: “This incident once again shows the risks that seafarers run every day, and underlines the burning need for progress on this issue. Although it is too soon to be able to establish the exact causes of the incident, the safety of the release system of lifeboats has been a subject of controversy for years. We strongly urge the IMO to finalise measures to prevent such accidents.

 “In addition, the flag state, Malta, must quickly and fully investigate this accident andprovide a clear report on it.”

 He concluded: “The ITF has been working closely with industry groups at the IMO to identify and correct the causes of lifeboat accidents. We will continue this work until all elements of these problems are known and have been solved.”