Harmony of the Seas is the world’s largest passenger ship and is owned by Royal Caribbean
By Henry Samuel, Paris and James Rothwell
13 September 2016 • 12:13pm
One person has been killed and two other critically injured after a lifeboat fell from the world’s biggest cruise liner, the Harmony of the Seas, which was docked in the French port of Marseille.
According to La Provence, the local newspaper, five members of the ship’s navigation crew were on board when the lifeboat became detached.
The accident is understood to have taken place during a basic security drill.
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It is unclear precisely what the five were doing inside the lifeboat on the fifth deck of the giant ship as high as a 20-storey building.
“One person has died and four suffered multiple injuries with two in a critical condition and two seriously hurt but stable,” said a spokesman for Marseille’s marine emergency service. “The lifeboat became detached” from the boat owned by Royal Caribbean, an American company, said a police source.
Julien Ruas, of the Marseille marine services, said the life boat “fell 10 metres” with the five people inside. “All were members of the crew,” he told 20 Minutes. The deceased person is a 42 year-old man of Philippine nationality.
There were no details on the other injured.
At 1,188 feet from bow to stern, Harmony of the Seas is 125 feet longer than the height of the Eiffel Tower and one foot longer than the previous record-breaking cruise ships Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.
This file photo taken on May 15, 2016 shows lifeboats on the Harmony of the Seas cruise ship Credit: AFP/Getty Images
The 16-deck ship has 20 restaurants and 23 swimming pools including the “Ultimate Abyss” water slide, a looping chute which hangs from the back of Harmony and drops 100ft. It took more than two-and-a-half-years to construct.
In May thousands turned out at the Saint-Nazaire shipyard in western France to watch the huge ship set sail.
However, the £800 million vessel swiftly hit controversy shortly after it left Southampton for Rotterdam on a four-night trip on May 22 with around 6,000 passengers on board.
Some of its first customers claimed it was still a floating “construction site” and protested about ongoing work and closed attractions.
They tweeted pictures of overflowing urinals, uncovered drains and muddy carpets. Passenger David Mitchell, 73, from Lincoln and who paid around £1,000 for his ticket, said his four night stay on the cruise ship was “a shambles”.
A spokesperson for the company replied at the time: “As always, Royal Caribbean’s highest priority is to ensure the safety of all its guests and crew members and any final maintenance is being carried out in accordance with strict safety guidelines.”
The boat’s completion saw Royal Caribbean announce its intention to order three more giant liners for 2.5 billion euros.
After calling at Southampton, she sailed to Barcelona and Marseille and is due to ply the waters of the Western Mediterranean to Naples.