100th Titanic Disaster Observance Underscores Need for Better Cruise Ship Training
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., April 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — One of the world’s foremost nautical emergency response, disaster, safety and salvage experts, Joseph Farrell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Resolve Marine Group, Inc., says, “Although the sinking of Titanic 100 years ago this week forever transformed seafaring regulations; although most modern-day cruise lines meet and exceed U.S. Coast Guard and International Maritime Organization requirements, there are still some companies that choose to abide by less stringent guidelines.”
Farrell says, “As examples, some cruise ship lines today do not conduct lifeboat drills within the first few hours at sea; while others do not have life boat drills at all.” He adds, “The reasons for Titanic’s staggering death toll is because the captain decided the day before the ship sank to cancel life boat drills; because the captain delayed sounding the call to abandon ship and when it came time to lowering the life boats in the water – there were merely 20; enough space for only 1,178 of the 2,224 people aboard.”
According to maritime historians, because of the lack of proper crew training and the absence of passenger life boat drills, there were only 710 survivors.
In addition to concerns about the present lack of life boat drills on some modern cruise ships, Farrell says, “Nowadays, there are also cruise ship companies that are satisfied with teaching officers and crew members only basic emergency response, firefighting and navigation skills; opposed to truly professional, advanced training.”
Resolve Marine Group: Salvage & Ship Wreck Recovery Experts Being Considered for Costa Concordia Operation
Resolve Marine Group is amongst the most-prominent maritime emergency response, salvage and ship wreck recovery companies in the world. It is currently being considered to lead the Costa Concordia sunken cruise ship salvage operation — the biggest project of its kind, ever.
In January 2012, the Concordia sank off the coast of Tuscany, Italy, after ramming into a row of submerged rocks. Thirty people died.
Resolve Training Academy Simulator Programmed to Sail Through Iceberg Alley
Resolve Marine Group also owns and operates the Resolve Maritime Academy. Instructors there have trained more than 18,500 employees of six cruise and scores of cargo lines in advanced emergency response and onboard firefighting techniques.
In March 2012, the Academy added advanced navigational training to its curricula with the completion of its $6.5 million Class A Full Bridge Simulator training center.
“The simulator uses a series of vivid video projectors to create a 240-degree, full moving command bridge view of every known waterway, channel and shipping lane on the planet,” says Academy Director Denise Johnston. “It can produce various weather and wave conditions and can simulate the scary sensation of sailing through the same iceberg infested waters of the North Atlantic Ocean where Titanic sank, a century ago.”
Human Error: A Century Ago & Modern Times
“As was the case with Titanic, most modern maritime disasters are the results of human error,” explains Farrell. “This underscores the significance of ongoing, advanced emergency response, firefighting and navigation training; opposed to the relatively simple basic training that some cruise lines deem acceptable.” He stresses, “While on board, high-tech collision avoidance and early warning systems have significantly reduced seagoing accidents, but there is no replacement for training that can help sharpen senses and skills.”
Titanic’s collision avoidance system consisted of two crew members perched in a lookout tower in the middle of the night. According to maritime historians, Titanic was traveling too fast for conditions. The lookout crew had only 37 seconds to warn of the impending collision with an iceberg.
On April 10, 1912, Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage from South Hampton, England for New York City. On April 14, 1912, at approximately 11:40 PM, Titanic struck an iceberg, 375 miles south of Newfoundland. The ship sank at approximately 2:20 AM.
Of the 2,224 passengers aboard, 1,514 either drowned or died in the freezing water from hypothermia. Drifting in lifeboats, 710 survivors were rescued at approximately 4:00 AM by the RMS Carpathia. The rescure ship was 58 miles away when it received Titanic’s wireless distress signals.
Farrell is a veteran USCG chief petty officer. In 1968, he served as an enlisted man on the ice cutter, Southwind. It patrolled the area known as “Iceberg Alley,” which is located west of Greenland and east of Newfoundland. This is in the exact vicinity where Titanic sank.
“Icebergs are very dangerous objects; they are often submerged; they drift; and can be masked by high waves and may even be undetectable by ship’s radar,” says Farrell.
During the past 100 years, there have been about 400 ship collisions with icebergs, according to the North American Ocean Institute for Technology.
“Among the most recent in memory was in 2007, when a British cruise ship struck an iceberg off the coast of Antarctica,” recalls Farrell. “All passengers and crew members abandoned ship. No one died.”
More About Resolve: World Leader in Salvage, Recovery and Training
After his honorable discharge from the Coast Guard, Farrell worked as a civilian diving contractor for the U.S. Navy in the Bahamas. He later came to South Florida where he worked in a boat repair shop. Farrell then became a member of a crew on a tug boat, which he eventually purchased. With it he started a small salvage operation in the Caribbean. From those modest beginnings, Farrell eventually created Resolve Marine Group, Inc., more than three decades ago.
The company now has offices and affiliates in every Atlantic Seaboard, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi River and Pacific Coast port city in America; in ports within U.S. territorial waters and throughout Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America.
Shortly after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill, Farrell founded the Resolve Maritime Academy. It first taught firefighting. Shortly afterwards, emergency response and disaster training. Last month, the company expanded to teaching highly-sophisticated navigation methods.
Resolve Marine Group History, Value Jet, BP Oil Spill, Scores of Ship Wrecks
In 1997, Resolve Marine Group was the primary contractor for the recovery of aircraft parts and human remains at the crash site of Value Jet flight 592 in the Florida Everglades.
In 2010, Resolve Marine Group was among the first firefighting and environmental clean-up crews dispatched to the scene of the BP Deep Water Horizon oil spill and fire in the Gulf of Mexico.
In its more than 30 years in business, Resolve Marine Group has spearheaded the salvage and recovery of hundreds of maritime disasters, including sunken, capsized, damaged and disabled ships and fractured oil rigs.
Costa Cruise Line Collision Salvage and Recovery
“Resolve Marine Group is among the contenders to lead the salvage and recovery operations for the Costa Concordia,” says Martha Lord, Resolve Marine Group’s Director of Marketing and Communications.
“This is a massive and delicate undertaking — the biggest and most complicated salvage operation in passenger maritime history,” says Lord. “The project requires an experienced team of experts and professionals.” According to Lord, the contract award is expected to be announced soon.
Azamara Quest Cruise Line Fire
On March 27, 2012, while cruising off the coast of the Philippines, fire erupted in the engine room of the Azamara Quest cruise ship. According to the Associated Press, passengers heralded the officers and crew for their heroism and professionalism.
Azamara Club Cruises and its sister shipping company, Celebrity Cruises are both subsidiaries of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. All three are Resolve Maritime Academy clients.
Thousands of Azamara, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean employees have undergone safety and firefighting training at the Resolve Maritime Academy, according to Farrell. He says, “The crew that battled the blaze on the Quest appears to have done everything right.” He adds, “This incident exemplifies that professional and effective training are of the utmost importance to nurturing extensive experience, cultivating communications and developing sound decision-making on the bridge, which all ultimately saves lives.”
Farrell concludes, “Cruise ships remain the most-popular and safest forms of vacation transportation.”
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SOURCE Resolve Marine Group, Inc.