It was reported that today, March 30, 2012, a fire broke out aboard the cruise ship Azamara Quest. It’s reported that the fire happened at approximately 8:19 p.m. on Friday.
Azamara Club Cruises, who operates the Azamara Quest, issued a statement saying: “On Friday, March 30, at approximately 8:19 p.m. ship time, Azamara Quest experienced a fire in the engine room. The fire was contained to the engine room and was quickly extinguished.”
It is reported that there were no injuries to any passengers but unfortunately, five crew members were injured. The captain mustered all the guests at their assembly stations and it was reported that the cruise ship was operating on generator power until full power could be restored to the engine room. This meant that for about 24 hours the ship was left adrift in the Philippine waters. Luckily, the waters were relatively calm, not subjecting the passengers to the rough conditions at sea.
I am sure the passengers were frightened and alarmed learning of a fire breaking out on the cruise ship. In view of the recent Costa Concordia disaster, we have been seeing a lot more publicity about problems on cruise ships, including fires. A fire onboard a cruise ship is not an unusual occurrence. It happens more than one would expect.
In addition, we have also learner that crimes onboard cruise ships happen at a much greater rate than previously known or expected, including sexual assaults. If you add to the problems on cruise ships the disappearances of passengers, the Costa Concordia disaster, fires, and the numerous other accidents reported onboard cruise ships, one does start to wonder just how safe these modern day cruise ships really are.
Luckily, at least as reported at this time, there were no serious injuries onboard the Azamara Quest.
We remain saddened by all the deaths that occurred onboard the Costa Concordia and what clearly was a needless disaster. One thing is clear, the cruise ship industry needs to be better regulated, and laws need to be changed to hold the cruise ship companies more accountable for personal injuries and wrongful deaths.
I will continue to fight for better laws which will provide greater protection and compensation to those injured or harmed at sea. Previously, I was honored to have been selected to testify at Congressional Hearings regarding cruise ship safety. I was invited as a maritime expert to present testimony on maritime laws and address questions relating to safety aboard cruise ships. Eventually, the Congressional Hearings led to passage of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, which was signed into law by President Obama.
Although that was a positive step, the law does not appear to have enough teeth in it, and we haven’t seen a lot of benefits from the enactment of the law. The International Cruise Victims Organization continues to press the Congress and the F.B.I. to make sure that the provisions in this safety act, including appropriate reporting of crimes onboard cruise ships, is complied with by the cruise ship industry. Most of the major cruise ship companies are based in Miami, Florida.
Our maritime firm is based here in Miami, Florida, and we continue to be safety advocates for people who are injured or killed at sea.