Cruise Law News : Maritime Lawyer & Attorney : James M. Walker : Walker & O’Neill Law Firm : Admiralty Law, Cruise Ship Accidents & Injuries

div class=”blogbody”> The Telegraph newspaper in the U.K. has an interesting story containing a passenger’s account of events aboard the Independence of the Seas following the explosion at the port in Gibraltar.  Some of the accounts:

“People thought it was a bomb and started screaming. Parents jumped in the pool to grab their children, while others dashed to the kids’ club on deck 12 to see if their children were injured.”

"One crew member . . . heard screaming and saw black smoke; she thought one of the restaurants was on fire."

"At dinner that night, the explosion was on everyone’s lips. ‘We thought it was a bomb,’ one middle-aged passenger said. ‘American ship in a British port – quite an easy target.’

All of the accounts we have read praised the captain and crew.  "Within minutes, the captain made an announcement, ordering everyone off the open decks and balconies, and sending a rapid response team up to deck 11 where the outdoor pools and bars were packed with young families making the most of the Gibraltar heat."

"Officers ran along the side of the dock to the stern of the ship, presumably to check for any damage . . .   Just four minutes later, we slipped our moorings and the ship sailed . . . Thanks to a quick-thinking captain, a major incident was averted." 

YouTube member "Kasbah89" posted a video of the fire.  It shows the Independence of the Seas quickly departing away from the burning oil tank and turning to head out of danger:

 

   

Were you on the cruise and have photos or video to share?  Please let us here from you.

Video credit:  kasbah89 / YouTube

Some amazing photographs can be viewed at David Parody’s Flickr photostream here.

Tags: Fires, explosion, fire, gibraltar, independence of the seas, north mole, photo, royal caribbean, video

Explosion Rocks Port in Gibraltar – Independence of the Seas Avoids Damage

Posted on May 31, 2011 by Jim Walker Several news sources are reporting that an oil tank exploded at the port in Gibraltar today.

Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas cruise ship was in port at the time of the explosion.  One newspaper reports that the cruise ship was due to sail at 4 p.m. but was "berthed nearby" when the oil tank exploded. 

The cruise ship then reportedly "quickly sailed away and anchored in the bay."

The Gilbraltar Chronicle reports that two people ashore were injured, one reportedly seriously due to burns. 

Twelve cruise passengers were injured.  The cruise line issued a statement indicating that the injuries are allegedly "minor."  Subsequent news sources are saying that eleven Britons and one Swiss passenger sustained injuries consisting of burns, abrasions and a dislocated finger.

Radio Gilbraltar ran a live feed of the fire as it continued to burn, with an additional oil tank involved.  Radio Gilbraltar reports that the Independence of the Seas felt the "full force" of the blast: 

There is an indication that the explosion may have been caused by a spark from welding.

If you have photos or video of this incident, please contact us and we will post them on our blog.

Photo credit:  

Top:  Gibraltar Chronicle

Bottom:  Panorama newspaper in Gibraltar (Douglas Cumming)

Tags: Fires, cruise, explosion, fire, gibraltar, independence of the seas, ship

Power Outage on Queen Mary 2 Due to Catastrophic Explosion

Posted on December 4, 2010 by Jim Walker A temporary power outage on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 in September was caused by the "catastrophic failure of a capacitor and explosion in an 11kV harmonic filter" on the vessel, according to the U.K.’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) which issued a marine safety report yesterday.

On September 23rd, the Queen Mary 2 was approaching Barcelona early in the morning when the vessel lost lights and power, causing the cruise ship to drift off of the coast of Spain.  No explanation for the power failure was provided by the Captain or the cruise line.

There are excellent articles regarding this incident published today by Cruise Critic - "Power Outage on QM2 Found to Be Result of Explosion" and another by Gene Sloan’s CruiseLog – "Safety officials issue warning after explosion on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2:" 

The explosion near one of QM2′s main electric switchboard rooms (photo below) when a capacitor failed and leaking oil sprayed onto high voltage bars, causing a "major arc flash event. The explosion blew the steel door to the room out of its frame! (photo, left)  "The blast … also caused serious damage to an adjoining steel door into the main switchboard room, the stiffeners on the bulkhead of the compartment were buckled, and the steel cover plate on a cross-flooding duct was blown out into the main switchboard room," the report says.  "Fortunately there were no personnel in the vicinity."

The reporting of this latest incident raises the issue of the safety of foreign flagged cruise ships, and comes after a string of recent disturbing mishaps.

Yesterday, we reported on Passengers Poisoned By Gas On Princess Cruise Ship

Earlier in the week, the negligence of Holland America Line permitted a drunk passenger to enter a restricted area and drop an anchor as the cruise ship was underway - Drunk Passenger Drops Cruise Ship Anchor

Last week, a passenger died on the Carnival Splendor under mysterious circumstances and Carnival added to the mystery by issuing a terse and questionable statement that the death was "medical related" notwithstanding a small army of FBI agents spending the day in the cabin and leaving with bags of evidence - Death on a Fun Ship: What Really Happened on the Carnival Liberty?

And two weeks ago, the cruise industry faced the spectacle of what an engine room fire can due to a new mega ship as the disabled Carnival Splendor drifted around off of the coast of Mexico for the better part of what seemed like forever.       

But the cruise industry will never admit that it has a safety problem.  Rick Sasso, president of MSC Cruises (USA) and chairman of the marketing committee for CLIA, disagreed with me yesterday in an article about cruise safety issues in Cruise Critic.  Sasso said "I challenge people to measure the cruise industry’s safety record against any other industry  .  .  .  Any critic that says cruises are unsafe — sorry, it’s just B.S."  

Right out of the horse’s mouth.

 

Credit:  maib.gov.uk (via Cruise Log)

 

Tags: Fires, clia, cruise, cruise line international association, explosion, qm2, queen mary 2, rick sasso, safety, ship

Cruise Ship Social Media: Everyone Loves A Disaster Movie

Posted on August 10, 2010 by Jim Walker In the last eleven months since I launched Cruise Law News (CLN), I have written what I thought were thoughtful and carefully researched articles about the cruise industry.  But most of my most favorite blogs about the most important issues facing cruise passengers received little feedback and only a few hundred readers.

I have found that my most popular blogs involved cruise ship disasters. 

That’s right. Terror.  Fear.  Panic.

When I was a kid the box office hits included movies like the Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno.  Thirty years later, my kids were raised on Titanic and Cloverfield.       

So it should be no surprise that one of my most popular blogs over the last year involved an incident where Carnival’s Ecstasy cruise ship made a violent turn in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico which emptied the swimming pool on the Lido deck, injured 60 passengers, and terrorized the remaining 2,000 passengers who feared that the cruise ship was about to tilt over and they were going to die. 

Carnival claimed that the cruise ship made an evasive maneuver to avoid a loose buoy.  But the passengers tell a different story.  Take a moment and read the comments to Did Carnival’s Ecstasy Cruise Ship Almost Hit A Sand Bar?

In addition to my blog, I have a YouTube page called, obviously enough, "Cruise Law," where I post cruise videos.  The most popular video is "Wave Hits Louis Majesty Cruise Ship."  A huge wave smashes into the cruise ship’s bay windows, killing passengers and flooding the ship.  Over 86,000 people have viewed the video since March. 

Yes, the video is terrifying.   

Exactly what most Americans raised-on-disaster-movies are looking for.  Today, we are living in a iReport society where CNN, MSNBC and FOX News regularly broadcast iPhone videos of fires, floods, and bedlam. 

One of the most popular cruise videos on YouTube shows a cruise ship being tossed around in a storm.  It looks like the cruise ship is about to tip over at any moment.  The video has over 2,500,000 views.  Take a look below and you can see why it is so popular. 

There will be many stories in the future where cruise ships catch on fire, sink or are hijacked by terrorists.   The cruise lines will frantically try and suppress the images and assure the public that everything is OK.  But YouTube will be there to reveal the truth.  And everyone will be watching the disaster.

      

 

Video credit: CrystalBeast123

Tags: Sinking, Social Media, cruise, disaster, explosion, poseidon adventure

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