A cruise ship fire has caused one vessel and its passengers to be stuck in a Caribbean port. The Marella Discovery, operated by TUI Cruises, experienced an engine room fire, leading to its temporary detainment in the Caribbean. While the fire was quickly contained and no injuries were reported, the ship awaits clearance from inspectors before it can resume its journey back to Port Canaveral.
The Incident and Response
On July 7, at approximately 1:30 AM, the fire broke out on the Marella Discovery shortly after it departed from the Amber Cove Cruise Port in the Dominican Republic. The ship was en route to the Turks and Caicos Islands when the fire alarms were triggered. Prompt firefighting efforts successfully extinguished the flames, ensuring the safety of all passengers and crew members on board.
However, to assess any potential damage and ensure the ship’s structural integrity, the vessel was escorted back to Amber Cove for third-party inspections. Due to the need for fire inspectors to fly into the Dominican Republic, the Marella Discovery was unable to reach its scheduled destination at Port Canaveral on July 9.
Cancellation and Investigation
As a result of the incident, TUI Group made the decision to cancel the ship’s upcoming cruise, which was set to depart on the same day from Port Canaveral. The cruise line aims to conduct thorough investigations to determine the cause of the fire and prevent any future safety hazards.
Passenger Refunds and Arrangements
With over 1,800 passengers onboard, cruise itineraries were inevitably interrupted. Those who commenced their journey with the vessel on July 2, as well as those who planned to extend their trips for a full 14 nights on July 9, will receive full refunds for their bookings.
Passengers who started their cruise earlier on June 25 for a 14-night voyage will receive refunds on a pro-rata basis for the seven nights affected. These refunds are expected to be processed and returned to the passengers’ payment accounts within 28 days.
In an effort to ensure the safety and convenience of its customers, TUI Cruises is arranging flights on behalf of the passengers, facilitating their safe return to the UK where their vacations began. The company acknowledged the challenging decision to cancel the cruise and expressed the impossibility of offering a suitable itinerary under the circumstances.
Due to the unforeseen circumstances and the sudden surge in flight bookings, some passengers may experience delays in securing their return flights.
The Ship’s Current Status
As of Monday morning, the Marella Discovery remains docked at Amber Cove following the cruise ship fire. The ship’s management, along with the fire inspectors, is working diligently to complete the necessary inspections and repairs to ensure the vessel’s safety and readiness for future sailings.
TUI Cruises has not yet disclosed whether other upcoming sailings will be affected by the incident. The priority remains the well-being and satisfaction of passengers, and the company will make announcements accordingly as the situation develops.
The cruise ship fire serves as a reminder of the importance of safety measures and prompt responses in the maritime industry. Cruise operators continually strive to ensure the highest standards of safety for their passengers, crew, and vessels to prevent and mitigate incidents like this in the future.