MSC Cruises has reported that on Monday, March 31, the company organized a crisis management drill aboard the MSC Lirica as she was cruising off the coast of Oman. The drill saw the involvement of close to 2,500 people between crew members, employees ashore and passengers.

This was an unannounced emergency drill, in order to test threat assessments, reactions and emergency procedures both at sea and ashore, according to MSC. Strict safety procedures were followed and no one’s life was put at risk during the exercise.

The emergency drill took the form of a pirate attack that consisted of individuals in skiff approaching the Lirica and firing upon her in an attempt to board. MSC stated that “as per standard usage, and following the pre-established scenario, the Master raised the alarm and took evasive action to avoid being boarded by the pirates and immediately reached personnel at MSC as well as at the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Canter.”

MSC said it was satisfied with the outcome of the exercise and will make sure that the elements that need to be improved will be taken into account and implemented.

“We are grateful to all the passengers aboard," commented Emilio La Scala, general manager of MSC’s technical department, “and to the crew members, as we needed their cooperation in order to make an honest and professional assessment of an emergency situation arising unannounced. The communication between the different services involved proved to be very efficient and standard contacts with all relevant authorities and official bodies were simulated in a timely manner. We are satisfied with the outcome of the exercise but will not rest on our laurels. Safety is a constant improvement process.”