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

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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 Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end Andrew Jeffs – June 2, 2011 7:26 PM I was onboard the Independence working at the time of the explosion. Whilst it caused some panic in the Windjammer Cafe (situated at the aft of the ship and near the explosion)the situation was not a threat to the ship. We left dock a little quicker than planned but ultimately, no real harm was caused to the ship. The bridge responded quickly and efficiently to the situation and got us away from any danger. The injured passengers were sunbathing or Flo-riding on the top/ open deck and, as I understand it, were looked after very well onboard. I’ve never witnessed an event such as this but, all praise must go to RCL for dealing with the situation. Best wishes to the individuals and the families affected by the incident.

Andrew Roberts – June 16, 2011 3:36 PM I was a passenger on the ship, It was very lucky that the blast happened just after 3.30 all abroad time for the 4pm departure. It may have been a different situation if passengers and crew were still wandering about on the pier as they and I was before 3.30? Well done to the Captain for getting the ship away from danger in under 4 minutes. I think of this as an example, if the Titanic had missed the iceberg by a foot? We have already re-booked for a cruise on Independence of the Seas for next year so no harm was done!!!

Patricia Coton – August 13, 2011 11:37 AM I was also a passenger on this ship, and would like to say well done RCI for getting us away so quickly. The fire was not extinguished until 5am the following morning. I have been in contact with a Gibraltar newspaper and can report that the welder who was hurt in the explosion had 70% burns and died on the 3rd of August in a Seville hospital. Condolences to his wife and two young sons, R.I.P.

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