Miami – Aug 7, 2007 – Norwegian Cruise Line, in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Virgin Islands Government, is co-sponsoring a large scale mass rescue exercise in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, on Thursday, August 9, 2007. NCL volunteered to be the lead cruise line in this exercise to assist the Coast Guard in their continuing emergency preparedness efforts. The exercise involves numerous federal, industry and U.S. Virgin Islands agencies and has been in the planning stages for more than one year.
Emergency responders will react to a simulated scenario whereby a cruise ship evacuates all its passengers to Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, after running aground off the island of Culebra, Puerto Rico. Select members of NCL’s incident response team in Miami will contribute to the field exercise. NCL, in keeping with its commitment to safety and the protection of the environment, has invited the National Transportation Safety Board to observe the actions of NCL’s incident response team in Miami.
“The safety and well being of our passengers and crew is our number one priority. Taking the lead in volunteering and participating in this exercise with the Coast Guard and the U.S. Virgin Islands, will provide us with invaluable learning,” said Bill Hamlin, NCL’s executive vice president of fleet operations. “We are looking forward to a successful exercise that will result in outcomes that benefit not only the parties involved, but also the entire cruise industry.”
“When a community is faced with a mass rescue emergency, whether it is caused by a natural disaster or an accident involving a passenger plane or vessel; locating, rescuing, keeping track of, and caring for rescued persons can become overwhelming very quickly. Fire, police, rescue and medical services, as well as private sector responders, must come together quickly and operate under one well-coordinated organization to save lives. This exercise will help prepare us to do just that,” said Capt. Raymond Perry, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan Deputy Commander.
Federal and Virgin Islands emergency response agencies, and industry stakeholders participating also include the Cruise Line International Association, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Human and Health Services, U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Transportation Safety Administration, American Red Cross, Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency, Virgin Islands Department of Human Services, Virgin Islands Emergency Medical Services, Virgin Islands Office of Homeland Security, Virgin Islands Law Enforcement, Saint Thomas Police Department. Virgin Islands Fire Service, the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital, and the Virgin Islands Taxi Alliance.
NCL Corporation Ltd. is an innovative cruise company headquartered in Miami, Florida, with a fleet of 14 ships in service and under construction. The corporation oversees the operations of Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America, and Orient Lines. The company recently took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Pearl, and is currently building Norwegian Gem for delivery in October of 2007. In addition, NCL plans to build up to three new third generation Freestyle Cruising ships for delivery between 2009 and 2011.
NCL is on target to have the youngest fleet in the industry by the end of 2007 with the introduction of Norwegian Gem, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy the flexibility of Freestyle Cruising on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea.