Renewed calls for lifeboat drills to not include people have come following the death of five crew members on a Thomson cruise ship.
The incident took place during a safety drill on the Thomson Majesty while it was docked in Santa Cruz on La Palma.
The lifeboat fell into the water killing five members of crew and injuring three.
Nautilus International, the union for seafarers and maritime professionals, argues that more people get killed and injured during lifeboat drills than rescued by lifeboats.
Andrew Linington, head of communications, said: "This is just ridiculous. There have been dozens of fatalities in the last few years alone due to these drills.
"There are some inherent dangers - you are working from height, the equipment is not the same across all ships, operating manuals are poor and often not written in the language of those using it and the maintenance of the equipment is a major issue as it is exposed to the elements.
"These accidents are happening too much. The drills don't have to be about putting people in boats - if it was, it would include the passengers.
"The International Maritime Organisation has been moving on this issue but as ever in the shipping industry, it seems to move very slowly. There isn't a unified approach on it."
Thomson has confirmed that the three injured had been discharged from hospital and are back on board the ship in the Canary Islands.
It said it was awaiting confirmation of when the ship can continue with the cruise which it expected to receive later today. Around 2,000 passengers are believed to be on board.
In a statement it said: "Our thoughts are with the families of those involved.
"We are working closely with the ship owners and managers, Louis Cruises, to determine exactly what has happened and provide assistance to those affected by the incident. We are also working closely with all relevant authorities and will be co-operating fully with their investigations."
By Diane Evans
Monday, February 11, 2013