Safety at sea

Viking Line always puts safety first. 

We take responsibility for the safety of both passengers and crew members and do everything we can to create a safe voyage for everyone on board. Through our management systems ISMC (International Safety Management Code) and ISPS (International Ship & Port Facility Security Code) we work systematically to identify potential risk situations and thereby prevent accidents. Our goal is to improve the safety continuously.

Safety organisation on board

The ship’s captain has principal responsibility for safety on board; each crew member has their own carefully practiced task in case something should happen. The crew has been divided into different groups, which are: management, fire, evacuation, lifeboat, medical care, security, information, “man overboard”, leakage, and helicopter groups. Participation in the regular security drills is obligatory for all crew members, and each participant is registered.

In 1993, Viking Line was the first shipping company operating in the Baltic Sea to receive IMO’s certificate for safety managing system granted by the National Board of Navigation. IMO (International Maritime Organization) is a global maritime safety organisation under the UN. IMO’s safety regulations are applied in full by Viking Line.

Safety organisation on land

The land organisation is also prepared for crisis situations. Different groupings on land help the ships in crisis situations to take care of passengers and crew members. The organisation on land performs its tasks according to a crisis plan. If you wish to read about reactions that may be caused by shocking or traumatic events, you can view a brochure of the Finnish Red Cross prepared together with Viking Line.

Modern equipment and skills

The key to your safety is our good seafaring skills which involve respect for the sea and looking after your and other passengers’ safety, as well as knowledge about smooth operation of the crew, ship and equipment. The technology on board is modern and of high quality. There are control panels both on the bridge and in the engine control room which continuously provide information on what is happening on board; on the car deck, in the engine room and other premises. To enhance safety, the technical monitoring is complemented with so-called double control. Trained guards make regular rounds on board the ship to see that everything is all right.

Careful controls

The security equipment on board is controlled every day. The maritime authorities inspect the ship and control the ship’s security routines at least once a year. Before each departure the officers go through a checklist in order to verify that the ship is seaworthy. Items controlled include e.g. locking of hatches, gates and ramps, and functioning of navigation instruments. During the voyage, security is controlled partly through the technical control system, and partly by guards who make regular rounds. The loading of motor vehicles on the car deck is also strictly controlled. The car deck is under continuous surveillance with TV cameras whose monitors are located on the bridge and in the engine control room. Entry to the car deck during the voyage is prohibited due to security reasons.

Possible fire on board

For detecting any fire as soon as possible all ships have a fire control system with detectors e.g. in the cabins, corridors, restaurants, kitchens, and on the car deck, which have been directly connected to the control panels that are being monitored continuously. Each ship has its own fire brigade and regular fire guard rounds are made throughout the ship. Fire hydrants have been strategically placed in different parts of the ship. In addition, there are fixed extinguisher systems e.g. in the engine room, kitchens and on the car deck. Each ship has 6–10 smoke divers with special training simultaneously on board. In case of a fire the ship’s firefighting team will arrive within minutes.

Effectively practised evacuation procedures

In case of a possible need to evacuate the passengers there are specific routines for each deck. The decks have in turn been divided into sections with specially equipped evacuation groups that will guide the passengers to the assembly stations. In case of alarm the crew shall check all cabins to ensure that everyone has come out. The directions for evacuation can be found on the inside of each cabin door. The route to the assembly stations is shown with illuminated green signs. At floor levels, the corridors are marked with fluorescent mouldings and luminescent light fixtures. Lifts must never be used in emergency situations! An alarm will sound via the public loudspeaker system (7 short signals and 1 long) and will be audible everywhere on board. Crew members practise these evacuation procedures regularly.

There are lifejackets for everyone

There are more lifejackets on board than the maximum number of passengers allowed. So you will never need to worry about there not being enough lifejackets. The lifejackets meet all the standards specified by the maritime authorities. They are stored in the immediate vicinity of the assembly stations. There are also lifejackets for children. The crew will distribute the lifejackets.

Lifeboats and rafts

In case the vessel is to be evacuated, there is room for all passengers and crew members in the lifeboats and rafts that are on board. Passengers will embark in the lifeboats at their assembly station. The boats will be launched using a davit (crane). The lifeboats will be manoeuvred by the crew. Life rafts will either be activated on board, in which case passengers will embark at their assembly station and the rafts will be launched by crane, or the rafts will first be lowered into the sea, in which case embarkation will take place using a slide system. Life rafts contain all the necessary equipment: water, paddles, lighting devices, emergency flares, and first aid equipment.

Adapting to the prevailing weather conditions

Weather and wind affect our vessels to some extent. To ensure that you and your fellow passengers will be safe and comfortable, we adapt our routes and speeds to the prevailing weather conditions. Stabilizers minimize the tendency to roll. When our vessels are at sea, the pilot and bunker hatches are always locked. The safety of the vessel is more important than our timetable. In case of rough weather, delays may occur.