A small fire broke out in one of the engine rooms of Royal Caribbean’s “Splendour of the Seas” early in the morning on Oct. 22, 2015. The crew quickly contained and extinguished the fire, leaving no damage to the ship and causing only minor injuries. All systems on board the ship were functioning normally, and one guest and 19 crew members were treated for smoke inhalation. Although no rooms were damaged, according to Cruise Critic, some guests were evacuated from the lower decks.
The ship has continued on its course, but has forgone its scheduled port in Argostoli, Greece. Instead the “Splendour” is traveling on to its next stop in Venice, Italy. Future cruises on board the “Splendour” are expected to go on as expected.
Risks of ship fires
Any fire onboard a cruise ship sparks a conversation about fire safety at sea. After all, the damage caused by an out-of-control fire on a ship could be devastating. In 2013, for example, a Carnival cruise ship was stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for five days following an engine fire that caused the ship to shut down. Although no injuries were reported from the fire, conditions onboard the ship rapidly grew worse as the sewage and sanitation systems were also damaged.
Thankfully, the Royal Caribbean fire did not cause this kind of damage. Although ships cannot stop every disaster from happening, the fire onboard the “Splendour” speaks to the kind of preventative measures ships can take to reduce the likelihood of a life-threatening event.
Onboard safety measures
There are a number of safety measures that most ships have that work to contain fires that break out, as well as prevent fires from happening in the first place. Nearly all cruise ships have state-of-the-art smoke detection systems and sprinklers ready to extinguish fires that occur. In addition, according to Cruise Forward, all members of the Cruise Line International Association are required to have a team of firefighters on their crew to attend to the situation in the event of a fire.
Although it’s scary to think of the possibility of a fire onboard a cruise ship, the reality is they’re rare. When fires do occur, ships are well-equipped to handle the situation in a way that causes no damage to the ship and minimal injuries to passengers and crew.