Articles Posted in Cruise Ship Fires

Two weeks ago we reported about a fatal Bahamas tour boat explosion. Sadly, another tour boat accident has occurred. The most recent incident occurred when 23 passengers on a sightseeing tour boat were injured after getting too close to an exploding volcano off the Big Island of Hawaii on Monday.

volcano-221x300Lava Ocean Tours is a tour boat operator in Hawaii who received a special permit to transport tourists 165 feet off the coast near Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano. The volcano had been erupting for more than 2 months prior to the incident, destroying as many as 700 homes. Despite prior lawsuits against Lava Ocean Tours alleging they failed to warn their passengers of the dangers, the tour operator continues to operate their tour boats close to the volcano. Video footage captures screaming passengers the moment molten rock and ash exploded hundreds of feet into the air and struck the boat called the Hot Spot. “We were pelted with the rocks and it embedded in your scalp and everything and the heat and the steam — you could feel it,” describes one of the passengers on the boat. Another passenger said he got third-degree blistering burns on his leg. Continue reading

Sadly, we have learned of yet another catastrophic accident involving an excursion in a foreign country, this time the Bahamas. Last Saturday, a tour boat carrying 10 Americans and two Bahamians exploded, killing one passenger and injuring 9 others. The engine exploded  only three minutes after leaving the shore, causing the boat to burst into flames. According to reports, the 40-foot charter tour boat was operated by the company Four C’s Adventures.

https://www.maritimeinjuryattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/271/2018/07/Screen-Shot-2018-07-09-at-4.14.20-PM-300x192.pngOur firm was saddened to hear about this tragic accident that resulted in catastrophic injuries and a death. A 22-year-old passenger, Stefanie Schaffer, is among those who were injured in the explosion. She sustained injuries so severe that she unfortunately required amputation of both of her legs.  Tiran Jackson and his wife Maleka were in the Bahamas celebrating their anniversary. Maleka passed away from the explosion and Tiran is still recovering in a South Florida hospital. He has severe burns and had one of his feet amputated.

This past Sunday, another fire onboard a passenger ship occurred, this one off the coast of Port Richey, which is just north of Tampa, Florida. The fire broke about a half a mile from shore on a shuttle boat operated by Tropical Breeze Casino, causing all of the 50 passengers and crew members to jump overboard and swim to shore.  There were over a dozen passengers who were reported to have been injured and a 42-year-old woman who was killed.

fire1-300x225The 60-foot shuttle boat was on its way to the Tropical Breeze Casino Boat (a company also known as SunCruz at one time) when the captain noticed smoke. After noticing the smoke, the captain turned the boat back to shore.  On his way back, the boat started having engine problems, which had been reported even before the accident in question.  The captain then ordered all 50 people on board to abandon the ship and swim to shore. There was no time to even hand out life jackets. The water, which was 59-degrees at the time, combined with the Gulf breeze actually created a risk of hypothermia for the passengers, some of whom were found face down in the water and would have died had the rescue efforts not been so prompt.

This past Thursday, a fire broke out in the engine room of the MS Nordnorge, a passenger/ ro-ro cargo ship, while the ship was docked in Norway. City firefighters and crew members helped extinguish the fire. Although the ship did not suffer any serious damage, three of the crew members on board had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

norway-port-300x225I have reported many times on fires at sea and the dangers it creates to both the passengers and crew, as well as the damages it causes to the vessel itself, and the dangers it creates for those who come to the rescue or otherwise are in the vicinity of the fire, depending on how quickly the fire is detected and put out. Obviously, the number one goal is fire prevention, and then fire detection if prevention does not work,

MIAMI, Florida–Fires breaking out on passenger ships is unfortunately not a rare event.  This reported story is about the Zahro Express, a tourist boat in Indonesia. The boat was carrying about 250 passengers to an island north of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta when the boat caught fire.  This tragedy ended by taking the lives of 23 passengers, who are reported dead as a result of this fire. Additionally,  around 17 passengers were also injured and another 17 people are still missing. The fire cause, according to police, was believed to be an explosion in  the engine room. It was accidental and most likely due to some sort of electrical fault.

fire-300x200What regulations this passenger ship in Indonesia was subjected to, what inspection they received on a regular basis, what certifications they had, and what other safety measures were in effect to deal with the possibility of a fire is unknown.  What we do know is that accidents on the water in Indonesia are pretty frequent. Vessels are often overloaded and there are never enough life jackets for all the passengers.

cruiseI have been alerted that another fire has broken out on board another passenger cruise ship, this time on the cruise ship SeaDream I, which is operated by SeaDream Yacht Club. The vessel was sailing in Italy this afternoon when a fire broke out, reportedly from the engine room.  I have been told that the vessel lost power and is currently being towed.

I heard there was a lot of turmoil and that the passengers had to be evacuated at sea onto a high-speed ferry.   Passengers were, understandably so, very scared. I did not hear of any personal injuries. I am only aware that it has been posted in an Italian newspaper so I do not have much more details to report at this time.

fireA fire at sea poses unique safety risks, risks passengers often do not consider before embarking on a cruise. When a fire breaks out on land, we have personnel who are highly trained in firefighting, responding with sophisticated equipment. When a fire breaks out aboard a cruise ship, we must rely on the crew members, in whatever training the cruise ship company has provided, responding with limited equipment.

Another obvious safety hazard present from a cruise ship fire is the inability to run somewhere for safety. Often times on land a quick escape is easy as there is a place to run to safety. On a cruise ship, there are limited areas where passengers can escape to, short of being evacuated off the ship. A shipboard evacuation of thousands of passengers is an enormous undertaking, which presents many safety hazards in and of itself. Most of us heard about the disaster with the Costa Concordia evacuation efforts.

Friday night “a small and short-lived engine fire” occurred aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. The ship was on its way back to Port Everglades from St Maarten when the fire broke out at about 7:45 p.m. The fire was immediately extinguished and no injuries were reported. In addition, the fire did not delay the voyage. Sadly this is not the first time this has occurred. During a hearing before the U.S. Senate last month following the Costa Concordia disaster, Ross A. Klein, PhD, who is a leading authority in the cruise area, testified saying that since 1990, 79 cruise ships have experienced a fire.

Only a month ago another Royal Caribbean Cruise the Azamara Quest experienced a fire in its engine room which disabled the ship. In addition, the Costa Allegra also experienced a fire which left it floating in the middle of the Indian Ocean until it could be towed to the Seychelles.

CBS News reported yesterday that the cruise ship Azamara Quest that is part of Miami, Florida-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. suffered an engine room fire. Smoke spread through the cruise ship quickly causing passengers to put on life vests and gather for roll call. Though many were fearful because of the recent Costa Concordia event when it became clear that the fire was quickly extinguished passengers began to party.

Passengers began to enjoy barbecues on the deck and free drinks. People didn’t complain and instead remained upbeat.

fire-1568096It 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.”

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