Early this morning a fire broke out in the engine room of the Zenith cruise ship, formerly operated by Celebrity Cruises and now operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises owned Pullmantur Cruises,
The fire started at approximately 03:48 AM today while the cruise ship sailed from Ravenna to Venice with 1672 passengers on board.
The engine room was damaged to the point that the ship was disabled and had to anchor 17 miles off Venice. The ship had to be towed by 4 tugs to Venice this afternoon.
The Zenith was built 1992 and flies the flag of convenience of Malta.
The incident will add to the controversy of the increasing presence of cruise ships in the lagoon of Venice which has been the site of protests from local Italian community groups and environmental activists.
It is also the latest cruise ship fire in a string of fires which have disabled ships lately including the recent fire aboard Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas and the Carnival Triumph among others.
I last saw the Zenith two years ago when it was docked in Royal Caribbean's new port in Falmouth Jamaica (photo below next to Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas; smokestack later painted blue).
There is remarkably little news in the U.S. press regarding yet another disabling cruise ship fire even though the ship is operated by Pullmantur Cruises which is owned by Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises.
Anyone with information about the Zenith fire, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.
June 26 2013 Update: A Spanish newspaper reports:
Josep Cortiella, one of the Spanish passengers on board, told Catalan TV news channel 3/24 that they had gone to the ship's bridge "in pyjamas" and stayed there until 8am.
The passengers had nothing to eat, he explained, except some sandwiches.
Cortellia claimed that the ship's authorities "didn't know what to do."
Top: vesseltracker.com via Maritime Bulletin.com
Bottom: Jim Walker