Cruisers aboard the MSC Lirica had the chance to experience an emergency drill they knew nothing about until the moment it happened. MSC Cruises has announced that it ran a pirate crisis drill aboard the MSC Lirica on March 31st while sailing off the coast of Oman.
The drill involved about 2,500 crew members, employees, and passengers, some of whom were ashore.
There was no announcement of the drill beforehand and its purpose was to test threat assessments, reactions and emergency procedures both at sea and ashore, according to MSC.
Throughout the drill MSC assures us that every safety procedure was followed and no one’s life was put in danger during the exercises.
The drill took the form of a pirate attack on the MSC Lirica, in which a skiff approached the vessel and simulated firing at the ship. While the skiff attempted to board the ship the Master raised the alarm and took evasive actions to thwart the pirate’s attempt to jump on board.
According to MSC, the Master “reached personnel at MSC as well as at the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Canter.”
The cruise company was satisfied with the results of the drill and said it will make sure that any necessary improvements will take place.
“We are grateful to all the passengers aboard,” commented Emilio La Scala, general manager of MSC’s technical department, “and to the crew members, as we needed their cooperation in order to make an honest and professional assessment of an emergency situation arising unannounced. The communication between the different services involved proved to be very efficient and standard contacts with all relevant authorities and official bodies were simulated in a timely manner. We are satisfied with the outcome of the exercise but will not rest on our laurels. Safety is a constant improvement process.”
Knowing this exercise was a drill and not a real life situation it actually would have been quite interesting to watch. Of course any pirate who wants to board a ship with almost 1,500 passengers upset that their vacation is getting ruined will have to have a pretty amazing plan to be successful. But it’s good to know that a cruise line is trying to prepare for anything. Not sure there were any water canons on the ship though.