According to reports on various cruise websites, an 84-year-old woman and her 90-year-old husband were asked to leave the Seabourn Sojourn last week after the woman had refused to attend the mandatory safety drill that is held at the start of every voyage.
Apparently, the couple were on the second leg of a three-leg trip on the 450-passenger luxury vessel, suggesting that they had already attended a safety drill on the earlier leg. The husband attended the drill, but his wife said she felt unwell and had done it before. The crew and the Captain said that anyone who did not attend the drill would be asked to leave the ship and would not be sailing when the ship departed. The couple argued that they had already taken part in the drill on the previous cruise and that as they were in the same cabin they were already acquainted with the procedures in the event of an emergency. The incident comes in the wake of new, tighter safety rules on ships following the Costa Concordia tragedy. At the time of the accident, there were nearly 700 passengers on the ship who had not received a safety briefing. The passengers, who had joined the vessel in Civitavecchia, Italy just hours before it struck rocks and partly sank, had been scheduled to receive a safety briefing the next day. Under rules established by the International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency, passenger ships must hold passenger safety drills within 24 hours of embarkation. After the accident, major cruise lines around the world announced they always will hold safety drills immediately after embarkation before ships set sail. What is clear is that the cruise companies are taking this matter very seriously to the point of asking people to leave if they donít comply. It would appear that the couple would have had to attend three drills on their holiday which, is a little tedious and unnecessary but in light of what has happened in recent times, not totally unexpected. Common sense would dictate that one attendance would be suitable, after all P&O Cruises regularly have cruises over three weeks in duration and there is only one life boat drill at the beginning of the cruise. However if the rules state that you must attend at the start of each new cruise then passengers should expect to make the effort to attend.