Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship catches on Fire

November 9, 2010

The Carnival Splendor Cruise ship caught on fire early Monday, leaving over 3,200 passengers stranded on the ship off the coast of Mexico.  By Tuesday, the United States Coast Guard had reached the ship.

U.S.C.G. officer Khris Johns reported on “Today” that the fire was located in the aft engine room.  The fire caused the ship to be without engine power, drifting approximately 80 miles off the coast of Ensenada, Mexico.  The Coast Guard has summoned two large tug boats to respond to the ship.  Once the tug boats arrive, it will take approximately 24 hours for the ship to be towed port in Ensenada.

The Coast Guard has stated that the passengers are not in any “immediate” danger, and no injuries have been reported yet.  The Carnival Splendor was only able to restore toilet service late Monday, and there is still no hot water, air conditioning, hot food or telephone service on board.

The fire on board the Splendor brings the issue of cruise ship safety into the public eye.  Earlier this year the Cruise Ship Safety Bill was signed into law giving added protection to cruise ship passengers.  The bill was voted into law in response to numerous incidents of passengers disappearing while on board a cruise ship, multiple incidences of sexual assaults occurring on board cruise ships, and the many accidents and injuries which occur on today’s large cruise ships.

Cruise ship injury attorney Joseph M. Maus says that accidents such as the Carnival Splendor fire, as well as, injuries and accidents are going to continue to happen just based on the sheer size of todays ships.  The most recent cruise ship to hit the water is Royal Carribean’s Allure of the Seas, the sister ship to the current world’s largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas.  The Allure of the Seas measures over 1,100 feet long, carries more than 5000 passengers, and stands 16 stories high.

Attorney Maus also says that passengers that become injured on the Carnival Splendor, as well as many other cruise ships, need to be aware of cruise ship ticket limitation which require a claim to be brought in a specific location.  For instance, if you become injured on a Carnival cruise ship, any claim must be brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami, FL.  This is true even if the cruise ship originates out of a California port.

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