May 7, 2019
On March 24th, a luxury cruise ship carrying 1,400 passengers and crew arrived back into port in Tromso, Norway. It had returned from the brink of an unthinkable disaster. All four engines failed amidst high winds and rough seas. The ship floundered and was dangerously close of running aground.
Within 100 meters of land, the crew was able to restart one engine. In the meantime, rescuers airlifted 479 people, many of them senior citizens, who were hoisted one-by-one onto helicopters. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries. No fatalities. A near miss and a major tragedy averted.
There are some valuable lessons from this unexpected event that can be applied to our personal, work and travel situations.
The ship was a relatively new vessel. The company had a good safety record. The weather was reported to be stormy with high winds and seas, however a determination was made to leave port and travel to the next destination. Perhaps the Captain felt pressured to stay on schedule, get to the disembarkation port on time, and then re-provision so the next group of guests can embark on their holiday.
When I heard about this incident, I asked myself, “where have I made decisions under significant pressure to complete a project or activity? And, in those circumstances, have I always made the best decisions.” I wondered, when faced with such a decision as this, how would I factor the pressure to “deliver” with my commitment to safety. Would safety be the priority in my evaluation process?
I read several articles that said the passengers were required to immediately report to their muster stations. But, during the intense storm, when they learned that they were to be evacuated, many had left their cabins without their medications and passports. This put the crew at risk, as they returned to passenger cabins amidst dangerous conditions to retrieve medications.
Reflecting on this, I reviewed my own personal travel safety process, specifically:
These are all simple safety practices that I should always employ, but over time I realize I have become lax is doing so.
The incident on the Norwegian high-seas was a wake-up call for me, as I am readying to leave for a vacation aboard one of this cruise-line’s sister ships. In preparation, I have re-examined and re-committed to these simple safety practices. They could make a major difference to me and my family – and yours – in the event of an emergency, while traveling.
I invite each of us to consider this question:
“Where have I developed a ‘casual relationship’ to known safety practices and, and what will I do to re-new my commitment?”
There has never been a better time for thoughtful reflection.