King 5 News in Seattle reports that the Holland America Line (HAL) Westerdam caught fire this evening as it was sailing to Alaska and was forced to turn around and return to Seattle. The news station is saying that the fire broke out in the engine room.
HAL released the following statement:
"There has been a small fire in one of the boiler rooms onboard MS Westerdam as she sailed from Seattle earlier this evening which was quickly extinguished. All guests and crew are safe. Out of an abundance of caution and in coordination with the United States Coast Guard the ship has returned to Seattle. The ship is fully operational and there has been no impact on guest services. It is anticipated that the ship will depart again once the assessments are completed and continue her voyage to Alaska."
HAL's statement does not explain exactly what caused the fire and omits the fact that after the fire was put out, it flared up again. Descriptive phrases like a "small" fire which was "quickly" extinguished can be misleading many times.
The Westerdam is a 10 year old cruise ship and is owned by Carnival Corporation.
If you were on the ship and have information to share, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.
June 29th Update: The Seattle Times reports that the cruise ship has left Seattle to continue its cruise. It also provided a little bit more detail regarding the fire. Interesting, the automatic fire suppression did not extinguish the fire and the crew had to use hoses:
"The Westerdam left Seattle again around 10:15 a.m. Sunday, said Public Relations Vice President Sally Andrews.
Because of the delay, Holland America has revised the 7-day sailing schedule. Passengers will miss their visit to Sitka, but will be given a credit of $250 per room to use during the cruise.
Coast Guard petty officer George Degener told The Seattle Times the ship's crew knocked the fire down, but a while later it restarted.
A combination of high-pressure mist and crew members with hoses extinguished the fire, Kyle Moore, spokesman for the Seattle Fire Department, told the paper. The city dispatched a fireboat, and a few units to the Pier 91 cruise terminal, as a precaution."
Neither the cruise line nor the Coast Guard have explained why the fire broke out.
June 30th Update: Why Did the Westerdam Catch on Fire? Does Anyone Care?
Photo Credit: Flickr - Don Shaw