In the latest disaster to befall the cruise ship industry, five crewmen have died in an accident aboard a luxury Thomson cruise liner.
The Thomson Majesty liner was in port at La Palma, the most northwesterly of the Canary Islands, on route from Gran Canaria to Funchal in Madeira. Eight crewmembers were checking a lifeboat when its cables snapped and it dropped 65 feet from the upper deck to the water below. It is believed that the lifeboat overturned on impact and trapped most of the crewmen beneath. Although three were pulled from the water and taken to hospital, five others, three Indonesians, a Filipino and a Ghanaian, drowned, four of them dying before being recovered from the water and one a short time after.
The twenty-year-old Thomson Majesty only came into service with the company last summer, and has capacity for 1,462 passengers. The vessel is owned and managed by Louis Cruises and had suffered a previous tragedy in 2010, when, under the name Lois Majesty, it was hit by a massive wave in the Mediterranean and two passengers were killed.
Thomson Cruises is investigating the latest accident, and said in a statement, ‘There was an incident involving the ship’s crew during a safety drill. Our thoughts are with the families of those involved. We are working closely with the ship owners and managers, Louis Cruises, to determine exactly what has happened. We are also working closely with all relevant authorities and will be co-operating fully with their investigations.’
Most of the ship’s passengers are thought to be British, and the UK’s Foreign Office said that it was ‘urgently investigating’ the incident.