Livorno is not too far North from Civitavecchia and we sailed through the night along the Italian coast with a speed of about 15 knots to get to the pilot station at 05.30. Again there was a parade of cruise ships and ferry’s going in. The Spanish Oceanic was in port as well as the Carnival Freedom, not to mention 5 or 6 large ferries that came in from the islands of Sardinia and Corsica and the French port of Toulon. Our approach to the port was enlivened by a cargo ship who decided to first cross our bow and then to stop right on our course track. Legally nothing wrong with that but from a point of good seamanship it did not make sense. Nobody in their right mind is going to sit right in the middle of a port approach, but that ship did so, so we had to sail around her.

This time we were assigned one of the cargo berths and the port had arranged shuttle buses for the guests to get them out of the docks. This is a very busy port and everywhere we saw ships being discharged and container and tanker ships coming in and leaving. Entrance and exit to the port is a narrow entrance on the south side of the breakwater and you have to make two sharp turns with the ship to get into the centre of the harbor. Those turns are comparable with the sharp turns you make while in a car trying to go from level to level in a parking garage ashore.

Once again a sunny day and most guests where gone for the whole day. Only a few, who had been there, seen it and bought the T shirt, decided to stay on board and enjoy shipboard life. With a nearly empty ship, it was for me a great opportunity to do some extensive drilling. Not every port allows drills but Livorno does as long as we inform all the proper authorities. Livorno has three different authorities who are involved. First there is Pac-Livorno. That is the organization that controls the movements in the port. Then there is the SIS (Ships Information Services) whose main duty it seems to be to collect statistical data and then there is the pilot station, who also wants to know what is going on. Permission has to be asked as well 2 days in advance from the Harbor master, which office then produces a number of forms, to be signed by the captain. These forms indicate that the captain assumes all liability for damage caused by the lifeboats in the water. As there is more chance of the stone docks causing damage to the lifeboats than the other way around, I have not much of a problem with these forms.

Today we had a simulated oil spill, with the oil going on fire, which went out of control and resulted in all having to abandon the ship. The rule for abandoning ship is that everybody has to be in the boats and the boats in the water, within 30 minutes of the alarm going off. We managed 8 minutes this time with the crew from lifeboat stowed to lifeboat away in the water. Of those 8, only three minutes were needed to lower the boat, so that would leave 27 minutes for mustering the guests and placing them in the boats in a real emergency. After these drills there is an extensive debriefing as there are always things to be learned and items to be improved upon.

Tomorrow we are in Monte Carlo with the Grand Prix races.