Because of poverty, piracy on the high seas is still a threat. The waters off Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the Caribbean are where ships and tankers face the most significant danger from pirates. It is crucial to choose the right cruise line, riverboat, and tour company when you travel, especially to countries known to have safety issues.
Because of Somali pirates, most ships have military escorts in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Suez Canal. Do not panic. Most of the vessels that are targeted are small private boats, cargo, or oil tankers. It is nice to know if the ship you are traveling on takes ship safety seriously.
Folks, I can tell you that travelers traveling to the US are getting the same information. It is a fact of life that you need to think of safety at all times and be aware of your surroundings. Anywhere!!!
The 2010 Vessel Security and Safety Act
was updated June 17, 2020.
This voluntary certification program will ensure the safety and security of cruise ship passengers traveling to and from American ports. It requires cruise ships to have acoustic hailing and warning devices in high-risk areas. These devices emit a high-pitched noise directed towards approaching vessels and cause intense pain to the ears of the vessels’ occupants. Your ship will warn any ship that is getting to close, and if they keep coming closer than the warning devices will be used. Usually, the guests on board the cruise ship will not be affected by it.
Your safety at sea begins & ends with a highly trained crew.
Not all ships take security and safety seriously. Remember: safety comes with a price tag. A highly trained staff and crew with an excellent reputation will command a higher salary. Some cruise ships consider the area and will not stop if there is an alert; others will stop. Also, safety-oriented cruise ships will ensure that the passengers understand what is safe and what is not. Some only tell you where to buy something. That is how they make their revenue.
Remember the Costa Concordia disaster?
In January 2012, Captain Schettino took command of the Concordia on the first leg of a cruise around the Mediterranean Sea, deviated from his planned route at the Isola del Giglio, sailed closer to the island, and struck a rock formation on the seafloor. Rumor has it that the captain was showing off for either some women or family members. 32 lives were lost and he was convicted of manslaughter.
Carnival Corporation, which owns Costa Cruises, already knew he had a reputation for being unsafe. In 2010, Captain Schettino of the Costa Atlantica entered the Port of Warnemunde, Germany, at too high a speed, allegedly causing damage to the AIDAblu Cruise ship own by Carnival company AIDA CRUISES. What does Carnival do? They give him command of a new vessel, the Concordia!
As a guest lecturer and passenger on numerous cruises, there are companies I would never travel on, nor would I recommend. There are safe ships that never have any problems. You rarely see them advertise on TV; this is due to repeat clients and referrals. Before I travel anywhere, I always do research on the country and cruise ship. Since COVID, many other things need to be considered.
Muster drills? What the heck is that?
This drill is required by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). Anyone who has ever cruised is familiar with the muster drill, sometimes referred to as lifeboat drill, an exercise conducted by the crew before embarking on a cruise. Everyone on board must go to their assigned meeting place. You will be instructed on how to put on your life jackets and what to do in case of an emergency. Also, check the back of your stateroom door for information on where your muster station is. You will also find the escape route from your stateroom to your station.
The elevators will be unavailable at that time except for those who use a wheelchair. If you prefer to take the elevator, go up after the fifteen-minute warning siren.
Everything will be closed during the drill, and all staterooms and public areas will be checked. This is mandatory for everyone in your group, even children. There have been a few cases where someone refused to attend and was asked to leave the ship. Of course, this would only happen on a cruise ship that takes safety seriously.
Cruise companies differ in the way they handle their passengers. Most cruise ships will insist that you give them your stateroom number, stand quietly, no drinks allowed. Because of safety reasons, you do not have to take your life vest with you. I have to say that I have been on some ships where it was not taken seriously, and the crew did not stop the rude and unruly passengers from bringing alcohol drinks with them. Like I have mentioned before, some ships take safety seriously; others do not. Do keep in mind that you are in the middle of the ocean. Things do go wrong; however, it is how the ship’s crew responds to the situation. After traveling on many cruise lines, there are ships that I will not place a client on.
To me, safety should be what travelers look for first, but in most cases, it is never even thought of.
People often say, “Hey, what could happen while I am on vacation?”
ANYTHING! With the proper planning, you can be safe anywhere, and if the unthinkable happens, you will take charge and know what to do.
Listen to my podcast: “Ship Safety”
Make your life a glorious adventure that brings you sliding in sideways with champagne in one hand and chocolate in the other, shouting, “Wow! What a Ride!” ~ Sara