Power Outage on Queen Mary 2 Due to Catastrophic Explosion

A temporary power outage on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 in September was caused by the "catastrophic failure of a capacitor and explosion in an 11kV harmonic filter" on the vessel, according to the U.K.'s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) which issued a marine safety report yesterday.

On September 23rd, the Queen Mary 2 was approaching Barcelona early in the morning when the vessel lost lights and power, causing the cruise ship to drift off of the coast of Spain.  No Queen Mary 2 - QM2 - Explosion - Blown Out Doorexplanation for the power failure was provided by the Captain or the cruise line.

There are excellent articles regarding this incident published today by Cruise Critic - "Power Outage on QM2 Found to Be Result of Explosion" and another by Gene Sloan's CruiseLog - "Safety officials issue warning after explosion on Cunard's Queen Mary 2:" 

The explosion near one of QM2's main electric switchboard rooms (photo below) when a capacitor failed and leaking oil sprayed onto high voltage bars, causing a "major arc flash event. The explosion blew the steel door to the room out of its frame! (photo, left)  "The blast ... also caused serious damage to an adjoining steel door into the main switchboard room, the stiffeners on the bulkhead of the compartment were buckled, and the steel cover plate on a cross-flooding duct was blown out into the main switchboard room," the report says.  "Fortunately there were no personnel in the vicinity."

The reporting of this latest incident raises the issue of the safety of foreign flagged cruise ships, and comes after a string of recent disturbing mishaps.

Yesterday, we reported on Passengers Poisoned By Gas On Princess Cruise Ship

Earlier in the week, the negligence of Holland America Line permitted a drunk passenger to enter a restricted area and drop an anchor as the cruise ship was underway - Drunk Passenger Drops Cruise Ship Anchor

Last week, a passenger died on the Carnival Splendor under mysterious circumstances and Carnival added to the mystery by issuing a terse and questionable statement that the death was "medical related" notwithstanding a small army of FBI agents spending the day in the cabin and leaving with bags of evidence - Death on a Fun Ship: What Really Happened on the Carnival Liberty?

And two weeks ago, the cruise industry faced the spectacle of what an engine room fire can due to a new mega ship as the disabled Carnival Splendor drifted around off of the coast of Mexico for the better part of what seemed like forever.       

But the cruise industry will never admit that it has a safety problem.  Rick Sasso, president of MSC Cruises (USA) and chairman of the marketing committee for CLIA, disagreed with me yesterday in an article about cruise safety issues in Cruise Critic.  Sasso said "I challenge people to measure the cruise industry's safety record against any other industry  .  .  .  Any critic that says cruises are unsafe -- sorry, it's just B.S."  

Right out of the horse's mouth.

Queen Mary 2 - QM2 - Explosion

 

Credit:  maib.gov.uk (via Cruise Log)

 

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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Mark Gaouette - December 4, 2010 11:08 PM

I agree Jim,

Rick Sasso makes a fairly incredible claim in the article, I love the quote by the President MSC Cruises,

"When asked for specifics about onboard security measures, Sasso told Cruise Critic, "There's clandestine security, obvious security, crew training, surveillance cameras, locks, signage. ... It would take me weeks to tell you how much security we have. There are not too many places in the world where you'd find this much security per square foot."

More like "per square mile" in my opinion.

Regards,
Mark Gaoeutte
Author - "Cruising for Trouble"

Gerry Donnelly - February 7, 2012 11:03 PM

I was a passenger on QME that arrived in Fremantle , Western Australia today (8th Feb). On the leg from Port Louis, Mauritius to Fremantle, the ship lost all power "twice"....I mentioned this to local port authorities but no one had any interest. I find that strange.

I write to you only as i saw the article on the QM2 past experience with power issues.

Aaron - March 17, 2012 4:24 AM

Really enjoyed reading your articles on your website!

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