Cruise ship death inquiries begin, as CMV insist Marco Polo is seaworthy

//Cruise ship death inquiries begin, as CMV insist Marco Polo is seaworthy

Cruise & Maritime Voyages has defended itself against claims that its ship Marco Polo, on which a passenger was killed during the weekend’s storms, was “badly maintained.”
James Swinstead, 85, died when a wave smashed windows in the ship’s Waldorf restaurant at lunchtime on Valentine’s Day. A 70-year-old woman passenger was airlifted to hospital and 14 others received treatment on board for minor injuries sustained when water flooded into the room.
Mr Swinstead’s widow, Helen, from Colchester, Essex, praised the crew for their support after her “lovely” husband’s death but claimed that a”rusty puddle” under a window was an indication that the ship was inadequately maintained.
CMV’s chief executive, Christian Verhounig, said today that investigations are taking place into the incident, and stressed that Marco Polo was seaworthy and had received its latest safety certificate in January after “a thorough survey.”
He also said that maritime authorities and the police had boarded the ship when it docked on Sunday, and allowed it to depart later in the day for its next cruise, to Norway and the Northern Lights.
The company said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the passengers and their families affected during this difficult time. We take the safety and comfort of all our passengers and crew very seriously and this will always be a priority.
“We confirm that an investigation was commenced by CMV immediately after the incident and it is being led at the highest level of management. If there are lessons which can be learned from this incident then the company will work with the authorities to improve the safety and comfort of our passengers and crew which is and will always be of paramount importance to the company.
“The authorities commenced their own independent investigations and boarded the vessel in Tilbury on Sunday morning. The Bahamas Flag Administration sent a marine surveyor to the ship to carry out an investigation which included interviewing the Master and the crew involved in the navigation of the vessel and its operation.
“The UK police interviewed the master and are conducting a separate investigation for the coroner. There was also attendance from the Port Health authority to inspect the vessel’s health systems.
“These authorities have the power to detain the vessel had they been of the opinion that the company or the master had been in breach of their safety obligations during the bad weather incident or that the vessel should not sail or was in any way unseaworthy. These investigations are continuing and speculation without the benefit of the full facts is inappropriate.
“If there had been any issue regarding the vessel’s ability to go to sea, then CMV would have not hesitated to have cancelled the next cruise. Allegations that the ship or its equipment was substandard or unseaworthy are denied. This has not been supported by any of the investigations or evidence gathered. Once all investigations have been completed the company can provide further information.
“It would be inappropriate to make any further comments at this time regarding the incident or its causes. CMV will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities in the meantime.
“Marco Polo undergoes stringent and rigorous surveys and is inspected regularly including a recent annual dry docking survey and certification. All passenger vessels are required to have a Passenger Ship Safety Certificate which is only issued if the classification society and flag state are satisfied that the vessel is seaworthy and has a safety management system on board which complies with the International Safety Management Code.
“The Marco Polo has all relevant certificates in place. The vessel’s Passenger Ship Safety Certificate was issued on December 17 2013 after a thorough survey.
“Cruise & Maritime Voyages would like to thank passengers on board during the storm for their overwhelming level of support and the praise extended to the Captain, his officers and hardworking crew.”

By | 2014-02-17T18:17:32+00:00 17 February 2014|Cruise News|0 Comments

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John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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