Last week the travel world was shocked when travelers to New Zealand were caught on an island as its volcano erupted. TravelandLeisure.com reports that at least sixteen people were killed and dozens injured, including passengers from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship which had called on the area. The casualties included a pair of teen brothers from Chicago.
In the days following the incident authorities revealed that they had posted an advisory for White Island, the site of the volcano, in the weeks preceding the eruption. Authorities had noticed increased activity and warned that the volcano was in danger of eruption. This revelation left many wondering why anyone was allowed to visit the island, especially passengers of a major cruise ship. Why was a Royal Caribbean ship sailing in the area of an active volcano under an eruption warning many asked.
Following the tragedy, one passenger from the ship told the Daily Mail “They’re people, people that went on my holiday of a lifetime that I’ve waited 50 years for and they never got to come home … dreadful,” TravelandLeisure.com reports. The ship sailed back to port with its flags at half-mast.
In the wake of the tragedy, Royal Caribbean announced that it will stop visiting sites of active volcanoes. But this measure seems to be too little too late. The company has previously come under criticism for sailing its ships into dangerous storms, even in the wake of hurricanes. Taken together, these incidents seem to indicate that the company needs to revise its decision-making policies relating to when to sail into the midst of serious natural weather patterns and potential natural disasters.