Grandeur of the Seas hit by fire in the Bahamas
A cruise ship scheduled to arrive in Bermuda this week has been damaged after a fire broke out on one of its decks early yesterday morning.
Grandeur of the Seas was en route to CocoCay, Bahamas, from Baltimore, Maryland when the blaze ripped through Deck 3 at around 2.50am yesterday while the ship was still about 30 miles from land.
The fire was extinguished within two hours and no one was injured in the incident. The fire did not damage the ships engines and she was able to carry on her journey, diverting to Freeport, Bahamas.
The vessel had been midway through a weeklong cruise calling on Florida and Nassau. But Royal Caribbean officials say the cruise has now been scrapped, and all 2,224 passengers aboard will be flown back to Baltimore.
Royal Caribbean was also unable to say whether Grandeur’s visit to Bermuda will now be cancelled. The liner, which is making 15 calls to the Island this summer, is due to arrive on Sunday for a three-day stay.
A Royal Caribbean spokesman said: “Unfortunately, the damage caused by the fire on
Grandeur of the Seas will require us to cancel the rest of the voyage. We are currently working on making the necessary arrangements to return all guests to Baltimore, Maryland, tomorrow.”
Royal Caribbean said in a series of tweets that executives have met with passengers and that the cruise line is arranging flights today. It said passengers will receive a full refund of their fare and a certificate for a future cruise.
Aboard ship, the captain announced that passengers needed to go to their muster stations, rousing Mark J Ormesher from his stateroom. Ormesher said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that immediately after the captain’s announcement, his room attendant knocked on the door and told him and his girlfriend to grab their flotation devices, saying it wasn’t a drill.
Orsmesher, a native of England, who lives in Manassas, Virginia, said he and his girlfriend smelled acrid smoke as they went to their muster station, the ship’s casino. The crew quickly provided instruction.
“This encouraged calm among the passengers,” he said. Passengers were required to remain at their stations for four hours, he said, and the captain “provided us as much information as we needed to stay safe.”
Ormesher, who is 25 and on his first cruise, said the air conditioner had been shut off, and as the hours passed and the ship got hot, bottled water was passed around. The crew and passengers remained calm, and helped those who needed it. Crying babies were given formula and held while their parents used the bathrooms.
Royal Caribbean said in a statement on its website that most public areas and staterooms were safe and power, propulsion and communications systems functioned without interruption. Photos show an substantial area on one end of the ship burned on several decks. The ship had sailed from Baltimore on Friday.
In Freeport, passenger Andrea Sanders of Washington, DC, said she slept on the deck with hundreds of other passengers as smoke billowed out of the stern of the ship. “I was terrified with it being my first cruise,” Sanders told The Freeport News as she ate lunch in port. Royal Caribbean said all guests and 796 crew were safe and accounted for.
Carnival Corp also had trouble with fire aboard ship earlier this year.
Triumph was disabled during a February cruise by an engine room fire in the Gulf of Mexico, leaving thousands of passengers to endure cold food, unsanitary conditions and power outages while the ship was towed to Mobile, Alabama. It remained there for repairs until early May when it headed back to sea under its own power .
On the Granduer, after passengers were allowed to leave their stations, Ormesher said he saw water on the outside of deck five and in the hallways. The mooring lines were destroyed he said; crew members brought new lines from storage. The damage at the rear of the ship “looks bad,” Ormesher said; burned out equipment was visible.
Magnus Alnebeck, general manager of the Pelican Bay Hotel, said his staff was asked to hold rooms for passengers, although it was not yet clear how many would stay there.
The ship will stay docked in Freeport at least overnight. The National Transportation Safety Board said in a tweet that it will join the US Coast Guard in investigating the fire.