Dubai: Fire drills have been carried out on a large cruise ship docked in Dubai to test fire-fighting readiness.

Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), the government authority overseeing the maritime sector in Dubai, said yesterday that its Cruise Ship Emergency Response Task Force conducted a full onboard mock fire exercise aboard cruise ship Serenade of the Seas.

Dubai’s Mina Rashid Cruise Terminal is the home port for the the Serenade during cruise season and carries 3,000 guests and 1,000 crew.

The authority said the drill was aimed at improving fire procedures and cooperation between both public and private parties to boost maritime safety and security.

The DMCA said yesterday in a statement that its fire exercise simulated a fire in one of the ship’s large tender boats, which are used to ferry guests between the ship and port and are also designated as lifeboats.

The boats may carry as many as 200 people.

Captain Anders, the Serenade’s Master, thanked the Task Force members and stated, “This was a good exercise for all of us and it should be repeated at least once a year.”

Amer Ali, Executive Director, Dubai Maritime City Authority, said: “The safety and security of guests and crew of ships berthed in Dubai are of utmost priority for us. DMCA is therefore constantly working with the industry on various initiatives such as fire drills and other exercises to further enhance emergency procedures, collaboration and coordination with Dubai’s Civil Defence team and the other emergency responders. The drill we conducted with the cruise ship ‘Serenade of the Seas’ highlighted the cohesiveness of the Cruise Ship Emergency Response Task Force and the high level of preparedness of the ship’s staff and the shoreside support stakeholders. DMCA will continue to proactively introduce initiatives that will further broaden our understanding and expertise in dealing with various emergency situations, while helping to reaffirm the status of Dubai as a genuinely safe and secure cruise ship destination.”

The drill is the latest exercise in DMCA’s onboing efforts to gauge and test command and control communications protocols of cruise ships and to identify areas for enhancing shoreside and ship board preparation and engagement, the authority said in a statement yesterday.

Other agencies that responded were the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA), Civil Defence; Immigration; Dubai Police, Dubai Rescue Police; Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Dubai Ports Authority (DPA); Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation; Dubai Ports World, and the private sector, including the ship’s agents. Civil Defence responded with three trucks including an aerial unit in order to reach the area involved in the simulation. The Civil Defence team worked seamlessly with the ship’s crew setting up a unified command on the ship’s bridge to coordinate and direct the response efforts.

The DMCA said it has recently introduced several initiatives that have added new layers of safety and protection for the maritime sector, including new regulations for the deployment of navigation aids (navaids) by Dubai-based maritime agencies.

The Authority also organised major networking and industry events recently, including Dubai Maritime Week 2012, the first-ever maritime industry workshop in Dubai, and the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Forum with senior management of marinas in Dubai.