Crew members aboard Carnival Venezia smoothly handled an emergency situation that coincidentally happened during an emergency drill. The incident happened while the ship was docked in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands on Friday, May 10.

St. Thomas was the first port of call on the ship’s current sailing, an 11-night Eastern Caribbean voyage from New York. Carnival Venezia departed the Big Apple on Monday, May 6.

It is common for crew safety drills to be conducted while a ship is in port and most guests are off the ship enjoying a new destination. This gives crew members plenty of room to work and ensure proper procedures are being followed, while being less confusing or disruptive for guests.

Fallen Carnival Crew Member Being Rescued

According to a report on Crew Center, the standard emergency drill was underway when a man overboard alert was called. A further announcement was made to clarify that this was not part of the drill, but was an actual emergency situation. A crew member had fallen overboard from Carnival Venezia‘s aft.

The ship’s rescue boat – a small, yellow craft that can be launched quickly and maneuvered easily – was immediately brought into service and sped to the crew member’s position in the water. He was easily taken aboard, and did not appear to have any severe injuries.

The crew member has not been identified, but was wearing a blue work jumpsuit and a bright yellow automatically inflating life vest that is easily visible in the water. Most likely, the crew member was working on the ship’s hull when he slipped and fell into the water.

While cruise ships are docked, crew members often perform maintenance such as window or balcony washing, painting, and other tasks that are not possible to do while the vessel is at sea.

All emergency personnel responded swiftly to this unexpected incident, and carried out the rescue quickly and efficiently.

The brief emergency did not cause any disruption to Carnival Venezia‘s onboard activities, nor was the ship’s itinerary impacted in any way. After St. Thomas, the ship visited San Juan on Saturday, May 11, and still has calls to Amber Cove, Grand Turk, and Half Moon Cay on the itinerary before she will return to New York on Friday, May 17.

The 135,225-gross-ton Carnival Venezia can welcome 4,208 guests aboard for each sailing at double occupancy, or up to 5,260 travelers when fully booked. She is also home to over 1,200 international crew members.

Cruise travelers are very familiar with the mandatory muster drill conducted on embarkation day on every sailing. Through brief presentations and online videos, guests are apprised of onboard safety procedures and must proceed to their muster stations to verify that they have checked in and understand the safety guidelines.

On most cruise lines, these e-muster drills are largely completed at guests’ convenience with individual muster check-ins. In years past, in-person muster drills were used, with large crowds of guests gathered at their muster stations while emergency information was read over the public address systems.

Carnival Venezia Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Mariusz Lopusiewicz)

At the moment, only Disney Cruise Line has returned to the in-person muster drills, which may be a more convenient option with young families. Because of the success of e-muster drills on other cruise lines, it is unlikely that in-person drills will become more widespread, though updates and changes are always possible.

Prior to a cruise ship departing its homeport, the safety signals (blasts on the horn) are sounded, and crew members report to their emergency duties for the brief drill. On ships using e-muster drills, guests do not participate at that time.

Read Also: Cruise Ship Lifeboats

Cruise ship crew members also participate in other emergency drills every week. These may include simulations of different types of emergencies, tests of emergency equipment such as lowering lifeboats, and other essential tasks.

Frequent drills ensure that all crew members and guests onboard are familiar with any emergency procedures should they become necessary in a real life situation.

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