Germany's largest maritime rescue drill conducted with TUI's Mein Schiff 7

   June 20, 2024 ,   Accidents

Germany’s sea rescue forces recently conducted their largest training exercise to date in cooperation with TUI Cruises and its new vessel, Mein Schiff 7. The 115,000 GT cruise ship, with a crew of ~1,000, served as the backdrop for this extensive exercise, positioned off Warnemunde in Eastern Germany on June 15.

This exercise was the culmination of a series of joint training sessions conducted over recent months by the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies and the German Society for the Rescue of Shipwrecked People (DGzRS). It was specifically designed to address the growing cruise sector and the need for enhanced maritime emergency preparedness in Germany.

The scenario simulated a collision rendering the cruise ship unable to maneuver, with several crew members designated as casualties. The Mein Schiff 7 reported the incident to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Bremen, indicating that several people were missing. The ship’s crew began providing first aid to the injured.

Several response vessels, including the sea rescue cruisers Arkona, Bremen, and NIS Randers, along with the sea rescue boat Konrad-Otto of the DGzRS, were dispatched to the scene. The exercise was managed by the emergency command, which deployed a medical team from the Maritime Incident Response Group of the Kiel Fire Department. This team was transported to the cruise ship by a Federal Police helicopter, which placed them on board using a cable winch. Concurrently, the DGzRS coordinated an area search on the Baltic Sea for the missing individuals. One seriously injured person was transferred to the NIS Randers for medical treatment in its onboard hospital.

Given the danger posed by an immobilized cruise ship to other vessels, an emergency towing operation was also executed. The emergency tug Baltic, stationed permanently in the Baltic Sea, and the multi-purpose vessel Arkona of the Waterways and Shipping Administration were employed for this purpose. The crew of Mein Schiff 7 successfully established towing connections with both vessels.

The new cruise ship, delivered just last week, provided a unique opportunity for this training exercise. Currently undergoing trial cruises in preparation for its christening next weekend, Mein Schiff 7 was an ideal platform for this critical drill. Organizers deemed the exercise a success, significantly enhancing their readiness for real emergencies.