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Final Report Issued by U.S. Coast Guard About Cruise Ship Fire

We hate hearing about unfortunate events that occur out on the open water. At the same time, we also think it's important to analyze them so that people in the marine industry can learn from the mistakes of others. By understanding why these things happen, vessel owners can try to avoid similar situations.

A final report was issued recently by the U.S. Coast Guard about its investigation into the November 2010 fire that happened on the cruise ship, the Carnival Splendor. If you're not familiar with the incident or can't remember exactly what happened, a fire broke out in one of the two engine rooms after a diesel generator suffered a major mechanical failure. The fire caused major damage to cabling and the ship experienced a complete loss of main power. The passengers had to stay on the ship for three more days without hot food, air conditioning and cabin lighting while they were towed to San Diego by tugboats.

So, why did all of this happen? The Coast Guard's report shares some interesting facts:

  • A water mist fire suppression system in the engine room was not turned on until 15 minutes after the fire began. It is believed that a member of the bridge crew caused this by hitting the fire alarm's reset button when it originally went off. This was noted to be an extremely critical error that allowed the fire to spread.
  • The ship's firefighters were not very familiar with the engine room, which resulted in sub-par firefighting efforts.
  • The ship's captain made the decision to ventilate the engine room before the fire was completely out.
  • The CO2 fire suppression system in the engine room failed. The ship's captain tried to activate the CO2 fire suppression system, but it would not kick on.

Carnival says that it agrees with everything the Coast Guard said. It has already taken numerous actions to remedy the problems, including creating a Fire Safety Task Force and a Marine Safety department.

If you are dealing with a marine insurance claim and you're facing a possible denial or delayed payment, contact the insurance litigation attorneys at The Voss Law Firm. Call us today for a free consultation at 888-614-7730.

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