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Chapter 2: Delta, Delta, Delta

Updated: May 19


Code names used for emergencies – drills vs. reality

Page 26-27, Chapter 2:


“Zulu” brings out the big boys, not a callout for muscular South Africans (who may comprise part of the team). This code signals a fight or brawl. Crew members from all departments that are large, rough, and battle-ready rapidly respond to quell any disturbance.

Fights on ships are averse to the experience of the passengers onboard. It can be a domestic dispute or a lovers’ quarrel that turns physical. It can even occur in the sports bar, with drunken fans going at it during a broadcast game. In most cases, “Zulu, Zulu, Zulu” is not a life-threatening call, just a disturbance requiring third-party intervention.

One Zulu call was life-threatening. The team quickly arrived to avoid a potential tragic murder scene within a few minutes. A boyfriend became jealous of his girlfriend’s comments to another man in the lounge during the late-night hours. They were trying not to make a scene. The couple walked out of the bar, heading for their stateroom on deck ten. As they exited the elevators, the argument became more intense. Just as they were about to turn the corner, the woman slapped her boyfriend to remove the nasty and foul comments from his mouth. In retaliation, he grabbed her by the throat. He viciously shook her, causing her to choke as she desperately held onto the railing between deck ten and the atrium below.

“Zulu, Zulu, Zulu, deck ten, forward elevators.”

“Zulu, Zulu, Zulu, deck ten, forward elevators.”

“Zulu, Zulu, Zulu, deck ten, forward elevators.” It broadcasted over and over again. Every code is announced three times, so the staff clearly understands the problem and quickly knows where to proceed. The bar staff knew immediately who this call was about, even though they were on deck five. Within minutes, several of the Zulu team arrived to find the boyfriend trying to throw his girlfriend off the balcony into the atrium, which would have resulted in certain death below the glistening crystal chandelier. One Canadian waiter grabbed him to pull him to help release her. At the same time, another Indonesian cabin steward latched onto her just as she was about to slip over the side as the boyfriend’s grip was releasing from her pulsating neck.

Each ship has a brig, also known on land as a jail, to house and shelter the disorderly until they can be disembarked. Lawbreakers are gladly handed over to the local authorities to keep the other passengers safe from harm. The male was arrested and spent the night in the sparse brig without a passenger cabin’s comforts. The Zulu team quickly escorted the female to the infirmary to be treated for a severe neck injury.

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