The big and beautiful Carnival Splendor was all of a sudden being towed to San Diego back in November when a fire broke out in the engine room which disabled several of the ship’s systems. The more than 3,000 passengers, who planned on be on the Mexican Rivera tanning, all of a sudden were on a powerless monstrous ship. Some passengers referred to it as a hell cruise.
Passengers were without air conditioning, hot food, flushing toilets and telephones for several days. Of Course, not what the 3000 plus passengers expected when they stepped foot on the ship. Visions of the Rivera were on the passengers’ mind, not that they would soon be getting towed due to a fire onboard the ship.
A fire onboard a vessel can be devastating and very dangerous. Our firm handled a case involving a fire onboard a passenger ship that resulted in hundreds of passengers and crew being killed. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured aboard the Carnival Splendor.
The U.S. Coast Guard and Mexican Navy did provide some assistance and the 952 foot ship was finally able to be towed to San Diego, and passengers received full refunds, including reimbursement for transportation costs.
The ship stayed in San Diego for major repairs. This Friday a spokeswoman for Carnival Cruise Lines announced that the ship left under its own power to San Francisco for further repairs and that the Splendor is still on schedule to accept passengers on Feb. 20th.
Fire safety is a major focus of international regulations, including the safety of life at sea treaty. The cruise lines must comply with very stringent rules and regulations regarding fire safety. Although there have been a number of reported fires over the years, I have been handling maritime cases for over 25 years, and the number of serious injuries caused due to fires has been minimal.