A research team from the United Kingdom's Greenwich University completed some "ground-breaking" research into ship evacuation and safety while using Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas as a laboratory. More than 2,300 passengers aboard Jewel of the Seas took part in a 'live' assembly drill while at sea.
The evacuation response time was monitored by the research team with a about 100 video camera, including CCTV, fish-eye, digital and analog cams that were pre-positioned by the research team. Passengers wore infrared tracking tags during the experiment, which lasted about a half hour. This allowed researchers to track everyone's exact movements and later reconstruct the paths people took to make their way to their assembly station.
Head of the research team Prof Ed Galea, who is also director of the fire safety engineering group at Greenwich, said the experiment on board the Jewel of the Seas had created nothing less than a piece of maritime history. "This assembly trial was unique in several aspects, as we collected data from a large cruise ship, during a virtually unannounced assembly drill and while we were actually at sea," he said.
This research on Jewel of the Seas is part of a three year Safeguard project that is being funded by the European Union with a cost of more than €3 million with a purpose of analyzing evacuation procedures on a cruise ship, specifically the length of time it takes passengers to respond to an alarm. The goal of this research is to improve current evacuation procedures.
Tracy Murrell, director maritime safety and compliance for Royal Caribbean Cruises, said: "We are extremely pleased with the success of the exercise onboard Jewel of the Seas. The shipboard team embraced the spirit of the exercise and assisted in all aspects to ensure flawless execution. Royal Caribbean is proud to be part of the ongoing efforts to improve safety onboard passenger ships and looks forward to learning from the results of the project."