Thursday, 11 December 2014

Three die in cruise ship engine room fire

oceania insignia

Three people died – two contractors and a crewmember – when fire broke out in the engine room of cruise ship Insignia today.

The incident happened in port at Castries, on the Caribbean island of St Lucia. None of the 656 passengers was hurt, and they have all now been disembarked. The remainder of the ship’s 10-day cruise – which began in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sunday and was due to end in Miami next Wednesday – has been cancelled.

Insignia owned by Oceania Cruises and is identical to two of the line’s other vessels,  Nautica and Regatta. All three were originally built for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises. In March 2012, another identical ship, Azamara Quest, was crippled by an engine room fire which injured five members of crew. 

Oceania spokesman Jason Lasecki said three crewmembers and the two contractors were taken to hospital following the fire, which occurred at about  9.30 am local time. One crewman was later released, and the other was being treated for the effects of smoke inhalation.

The passengers are being accommodated in local  hotels until they can be flown to Miami. It is not yet known how many were from the UK.

Oceania Cruises President and Chief Operating Officer Jason Montague, flew to St lucia with a team of guest and crew support and technical personnel. This team is leading the effort to ensure guests and crew are well cared for, as well as working with the ship’s team and authorities to assess the situation. 

Insignia was given a multi-million pound refurbishment earlier this year after returning to Oceania after a two-year charter to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises who operated it as Columbus 2. Together with Regent Seven Seas, Oceania was the subject of a $3 billion takeover by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in September.