Earlier this month (March 2012), Gatwick Airport passengers jetting off to the sun or on skiing holidays were separated from their luggage by a power cut affecting the Airport’s baggage handling system.
The power cut in the North terminal, which disrupted luggage carousels, happened at around 3:30am and lead to flight delays and some passengers having to leave without their luggage. Extra staff had to be called in to move bags manually before engineers were able to get the belts working again at 10:30am.
The fault was in an electricity sub-station, which developed a fault, causing a power surge and a series of power cuts. Electricity was restored quickly but the power cut had already caused a massive backlog in the handling department. Charter flights to some destinations were held back to allow bags to be loaded. 148 flights were scheduled to leave on Saturday, involving 22,500 passengers. Twelve flights were delayed for two hours and one for three hours. A total of 2,000 bags were left behind and forwarded on subsequently available flights.
Queen Mary II power failure – all lost at sea
A power cut on the luxury ocean liner, Queen Mary II, left it without propulsion in the North Pacific. But it wasn’t the first time. The ship, with more than 3,600 passengers (many of whom had paid in excess of £130,000 for their cruise) and crew onboard was left without electricity during two power cuts within days of each other. One incident happened as the ship sailed from Australia to Japan. One passenger was stuck in the lift for 10 minutes and had to be rescued when the electricity failed.
A spokesman for Carnival, which owns the 1,132 foot long ship dubbed “the Queen of the Seas” in the Daily Mail, confirmed that there had been brief power outages but claimed they occurred during routine maintenance and happened as expected until back up systems kicked in. He said that passengers would hardly have noticed as at all times there was full lighting and all controls were effective and operating normally. He stated that passenger safety was not at risk.
Although this type of incident is unfortunate for the operators of Airports and cruise ships, thankfully it happens rarely. However, the fact that both of these stories made it into the papers tells me several things, primarily that power cuts – no matter how small and seemingly insignificant – are no longer tolerated and that any organisation that does not place power continuity high on its agenda is risking its reputation (and perhaps even health and safety). Chances are, it’ll get in the papers!
Riello UPS has installed a number of uninterruptible power supplies for marine and leisure applications including luxury cruise liners and in Airports. Often in these environments, what’s required is huge power capacity, reliability and redundancy, which our industrial UPS offer.