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Royal Caribbean Battles Fire aboard Freedom of the Seas Cruise Ship

Recently, a fire broke out on a Royal Caribbean ship as it pulled into port in Falmouth, Jamaica.  The company reports that the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship fire was extinguished and passengers were assembled at the ship’s assembly stations.  Royal Caribbean says all systems on the ship are functioning and it will continue on its trip, with the next stop in Grand Cayman.

While the company seems to be downplaying the fire, passengers have reported considerable smoke.  One passenger told news outlets that she noticed dark smoke and debris outside the window.  Crews ordered her and other passengers to put on life-preservers.  She was informed that one of the engines had caught fire, but did note that crew members kept passengers calm.  Further, one crew member suffered first degree burns in the fire that took one and a half hours to extinguish.  A video has emerged of the smoking ship that seems to depict a considerable fire.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation and fortunately no serious injuries resulted from the flames.

Cruise Line Fires

            There have been several major cruise ship fires in recent years.  In 2013, an engine fire started on the Carnival Triumph.  The fire disabled the engine, leaving the ship adrift and without air conditioning or running water.  Passengers endured horrible conditions, including excessive heat and overflowing toilets, until finally they were towed to shore.  Several lawsuits were filed after the doomed cruise and some passengers were award thousands of dollars.

In 2014, a fire broke out again in the engine room, this time of an Oceania Cruises ship. The fire claimed the lives of two contractors and one crew member.  Fortunately, no passengers were injured in this large blaze.

One of the biggest cruise ship fires which did result in injury to passengers took place in 1998.  A Carnival Ecstasy caught fire after leaving the port in Miami, injuring 60 people aboard the ship.

    While fires are not generally anticipated on cruise lines, several conditions can lead to fires.  The most common causes of cruise ship fires include:

  • Fuel leaks in the engine room
  • Electrical shorts caused by poor maintenance on breakers or switchboards

Around 80 cruise ship fires occurred between the years 1990 and 2011, making instances of fire on cruise ships rare but within the realm of reality.  In the event of a cruise ship fire, passengers onboard have few places to go to find safety given the relative confinement of being on a ship.  Being injured in a cruise ship fire can cause considerable damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and psychological damages.  The victims of cruise ship fires may be eligible for compensation for these serious losses.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Over 130 Years of Collective Experience   

            Taking a cruise is supposed to be a time of relaxation and fun.  If you or a loved one has been injured or taken seriously ill on a cruise line, contact the Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano. We have over 130 collective years of experience representing cruise accident and illness victims in South Florida.  We will review your cruise ship accident case and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.  Our firm has received a coveted AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and the Miami Herald recognized us as a top firm in South Florida.   Allow our exceptional attorneys to provide you with superior legal services in the South Florida area.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.


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