Passengers aboard the Thomson Majesty cruise ship were delayed indefinitely in port on Monday following the tragic accident that left five crew members dead and three injured during a routine lifeboat drill.
The luxury liner was due to set sail from the Canary Island of La Palma at 3pm Sunday bound for Madeira but the departure was delayed following the death of the five crew after the lifeboat they were checking plummeted 65 feet from the upper deck to the sea below.
Authorities on the island said permission to depart at 3 pm Monday had been given by a judge after Civil Guard officers completed their investigations into the tragedy.
But the ship was further delayed pending safety approval from Malta where the ship is registered because the vessel is now short one lifeboat.
At noon on Sunday eight crew members had been carrying out safety checks on a lifeboat when one of the cables holding it snapped causing it to fall vertically into the sea trapping them beneath its upturned hull.
The bodies of the five dead crew – three Indonesians, a Filipino and a Ghanian – underwent autopsies to determine whether they had died from drowning or injuries sustained when the craft hit the water.
The three survivors, two Greeks and an Indonesian, returned to the ship Monday morning after being discharged from hospital.
One British man on board said that passengers originally assigned to the lifeboat involved in the incident, in the event of an emergency evacuation, have been allocated a new one.
Some on board were becoming frustrated at the delay and specifically the lack of information given to them by cruise company.
“We’ve were told that we might be departing Monday afternoon but then at around 5pm the announcement came that the ship will not leave port tonight,” Jim McArthur, 49 from Airdrie, near Edinburgh told the Daily Telegraph.
“The mood on the ship is starting to get heated with some passengers demanding use of the internet to communicate with their loved ones back home to reassure them that they are safe,” he said.
The ship is carrying 1,498 passengers, most of whom are British, on a seven-day cruise around Spain’s Canary Islands with stops in Funchal, Madeira and Agadir, Morocco.
Thomson Cruises management declined to detail what stopovers were likely be cut from the itinerary if and when the cruise resumes or whether passengers would be offered compensation.
“We haven’t been told anything,” complained Mr McArthur.