According to a Princess Cruises statement, two crewmen were in one of the rescue boats doing maintenance work on the hull of Coral Princess. When the boat was being raised back up to the ship, one of the cables parted, and the boat fell into the water with the crewmen inside.
Both were taken to a hospital ashore. One of the men died from his injuries.
'This has devastated everyone across the entire Princess Cruises organization,' the Princess statement said. 'We are, and will continue to support his family during this difficult period.'
Seatrade Insider did not get further specifics on the accident and what exactly caused the cable failure.
Lifeboat safety has been a concern across the shipping business for some time.
In February 2013, five crew members died and three others were injured when a lifeboat fell into the water during a routine emergency drill for Thomson Majesty at Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands. In that case, a company spokesperson said one of the cables 'snapped' when the boat was being raised and it fell into the water. Thomson Cruises was chartering the ship from Louis Cruises.
At the time, the International Transport Workers' Federation urged action on lifeboat safety. Bjørn-Erik Kristoffersen, the ITF's representative on the lifeboat working group of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee, called lifeboat accidents 'all too common' and said they 'dramatically show that this is a recurring problem.’
Addressing one aspect of lifeboat safety, under IMO regulations adopted in 2011, all new on-load release mechanisms for lifeboats were required to be evaluated against new design requirements by July 2013. The regulation requires non-compliant hooks to be replaced no later than the first scheduled drydock of the ship after July 2014 but, in any case, not later than July 2019.