Simon Calder: There is no real connection between the Thomson Majesty and the Costa Concordia disaster

Five lives have been tragically lost during a routine drill in the port of Santa Cruz, but this sad event is an industrial accident, not a calamity threatening all on board.

Share
Related Topics

Some may be quick to connect the deaths of five crew members aboard the Thomson Majesty on the island of La Palma with the Costa Concordia disaster just over a year ago. In fact, the only apparent link is that the crew were practising the emergency deployment of lifeboats in order to ensure a safe evacuation were the order given to abandon ship.

The chaotic scenes after Concordia struck rocks off the island of Giglio showed how important safety drills are, both for passengers and crew. Thirty-two people died that dreadful January night, and two are still unaccounted for. Five seamen's lives have been tragically lost during a routine drill in the port of Santa Cruz, but this sad event is an industrial accident rather than a calamity threatening all on board.

Naturally, it has implications for passenger safety - what if, goes the obvious question, the same fatal failure had occurred during a real evacuation? While that investigation is carried out, the main problem for Thomson Cruises is logistical.

An estimated 1,500 passengers will remain on the vessel, in port, until the preparedness of the ship for an evacuation is assured. They, and the crew, will be understandably distressed about the tragedy.

Should the stay become protracted, they will need to be flown out of La Palma - an island with a small airport and normally only one flight a week from the UK.

Thomson Majesty joined the fleet of Britain's biggest holiday company only last May. As is the case with some other cruise ships, Thomson leases the Majesty - and its officers - from a Cypriot company, Louis Cruise Line. The overwhelming number of passengers are British.

The vessel sailed on Friday from another port named Santa Cruz, the capital of the island of Tenerife. After La Palma she is due to call at Madeira, Morocco and Lanzarote before returning to Tenerife. Thomson is still selling the departure on the circuit due on 22 February.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Manager - OTE £40,000

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Benedict Cumberbatch attends a special screening of his latest film The Imitation Game  

Benedict Cumberbatch race row: What's the actual difference between 'coloured' and 'person of colour'?

Matthew Norman
Pressure is growing on Chris Grayling to abandon the Government bid to advise Saudi Arabia on running its prisons (Getty)  

What in sanity’s name is Chris Grayling doing in the job of Justice Secretary?

Matthew Norman
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore