Thursday, March 23, 2006

Floating hotel catch fire - cigarette blamed

Reported here, Princess Cruise ship Star Princess had a fire aboard, 1 guest dead (heart attack), 9 others with minor smoke inhalation injuries. A cigarette is blamed. 3,813 people were on board. More details here, with a nice slideshow of the damage, from which I liberated the pictures above.

The IMO has had some safety concerns for these large vessels as reported here:
Safety, of course, is a vital concern for passenger ship designers and operators. These vessels have the highest of profiles and their success could be undermined entirely if the public were to lose confidence in them.

Although it cannot be denied that a number of incidents in recent years have indicated the vulnerability of these ships, it is also true that overall, their safety record is good. By and large, they avoid the worst excesses of the weather. Passengers demand that they should do so and a typical power installation capable of providing 25-knots enables them to outrun a hurricane.

But while the modern cruise giants have the power and speed to dodge the weather, they are particularly vulnerable to fire. Every passenger is a potential ignition source and the hotel services clearly have an inherent risk.
The IMO is the International Maritime Organization. US Coast Guard oversight laid out here. By the way, it is a good idea to pay attention during the fire and lifeboat drills while on a cruise.

This incident could have been much worse.

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