Celebrity Equinox Drifts Close to House in Port Everglades

Celebrity EquinoxOn Friday March 3rd, the Celebrity Equinox drifted dangerously close to the shore in Port Everglades as the cruise ship was attempting to leave the port.

As shown in a video filed by Fort Lauderdale homeowner Yasmine Todhunter, her husband, Bill, (with the family dogs), is shown as the Celebrity ship drifts dangerously close to their waterfront house.

The Celebrity Equinox is later shown struggling to use its bow thrusters to back back away away from the couple's house.

Facebook readers pointed out that cruise ships in the wide Port Everglades channel usually are being piloted by a local maritime pilot. It is unknown whether the cruise ship experienced a temporary power loss or whether the pilot could not adjust to the high winds that day. 

The homeowners who filmed the ship posted the video on the Celebrity Cruises Facebook page after the cruise line ignored emails asking for an explanation. Celebrity has still not offered an explanation for what happened. The video of the incident was removed from the Celebrity Facebook page. 

A reader on Facebook who watched the video humorously remarked: "New shore excursion ... Bill's house."

Last summer, the Celebrity Infinity slammed into a dock in Ketchikan, Alaska after the ship could not manage the high winds. 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

March 7, 2017 Update: A reader brought to my attention that an oil tanker overturned on Thursday night near the port, spilling 9,000 gallons of fuel, some of which spilled into the intracoastal waters according to media reports. News7 reported that cleanup efforts were still underway on Friday and ""due to the spill, the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship was not able to come into the port. However, the ship was able to dock at terminal 25, which was accessed through the Interstate 595 entrance to the port." Perhaps this is why the Equinox was redirected? 

Apparently the oil spill was on the other side of the intracoastal and would not explain why the Celebrity ship came so close to the house.

March 8, 2017 Update: News outlets in South Florida are covering the story - Sun Sentinel: Cruise ship has close encounter with home near Port Everglades;  CBS Miami: Couple Recalls Close Encounter With Cruise Ship: ‘This Boat Is Coming To The House!’; Daily Mail Homeowner films her husband waving desperately as massive cruise ship comes terrifyingly close to their $2.3 MILLION waterfront home; Miami New Times Here's Video of a Giant Cruise Ship Nearly Hitting a House at Port Everglades.

A spokesperson for the Port Everglades Pilots & the Florida Harbor Pilots Association said this gobbledygook: "The local Port Everglades harbor pilot maintained navigational control of the vessel throughout this maneuver, skillfully keeping it within the channel, then proceeded to safely guide the vessel out to sea. As stated by the cruise line, the vessel did not touch bottom."

A Celebrity Cruises spokesperson used similarly misleading language to describe the reckless maneuver of the cruise ship:  "As Equinox departed on Friday, March 3, she was in her assigned channel at all times under the guidance of specialized local port pilots. The ship operated safely and did not put guests or crew at risk. We can also confirm the ship did not touch bottom.”

Video Credit: Bill and Yasmine Todhunter 

 

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Comments (10) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Delia Hake - March 7, 2017 9:56 AM

Love the way the dogs make a run for it :)

Jack - March 8, 2017 7:18 PM

Just got off that ship that morning. The Captain was a bit of a wing nut. Not surprised!

David - March 9, 2017 8:05 AM

With today's towering condominium cruise ships, it's understandable that high winds can blow the ship sideways. I once owned a 26 foot cruiser and had trouble controlling her in high winds. Remember: ships are floating. High winds can and so blow cars around, too.

JB - March 9, 2017 8:50 AM

My husband and I are on the March 3rd sailing of the Equinox. Yesterday while in port of Barbados our Captain left the ship.

David - March 9, 2017 11:19 AM

The ship may have backed away, and it may have used its bow thruster. It however did not use its bow thruster to back away. Bow thrusters provide side thrust and as as such do not "back". I have see several reports stating the vessel backed away using the bow thruster... How many things in every day news reporting are not factually correct? It makes my question every news story...

CZgator - March 9, 2017 11:31 AM

Celebrity Cruise Line shows their lack of concern for residents where their ships are operating, as well as the public (and potential customers) by totally ignoring this close call. No matter how they try to dress it up by happily insisting it did not touch bottom--that's not the issue, it's the sea wall it almost touched! What they should have done is admitted that wind conditions (or whatever) caused a temporary change in course and apologize for any concerns this may (!) have caused the homeowners, then offered them a discount for them on a future cruise. That would have been the professional way to defuse the situation and even make a potentially positive PR event out of it if they took them up on the cruise.

R - March 10, 2017 6:13 PM

I love Cruise Law News. I'm here all the time. Jim, you do great work. But on this one we were duped. 2100 Inlet Drive, Fort Lauderdale FL. Google earth it.
Facts:
It would be impossible for a ship to strike this house. No one at that property was at risk.
The ship draws over 28' at the bow.
There is a 24' contour outside the channel.
Bow thrusters kick up mud and sand in over 40' depths. This is not a sign of grounding.

David - March 13, 2017 12:49 PM

I really don't understand why Jim would state the Port Everglades Pilots and Florida Harbor Pilots Association would suggest the authorities and Celebrity spoke 'gobbledygook'. These guys are experts in their field where it would seem that Jim is not an expert navigation officer or pilot. I rather think that the guys who wrote the above statements are appropriately qualified to make such statements. Please listen to experts and not those who assume they are, when they actually know nothing. Jim - stick to being a lawyer and not a navigation officer.

I was on the ship and didn't feel at risk at any time despite the seas being particularly rough.

Further, I would suggest that when buying a home in Port Everglades, one would expect to see ships coming pretty close to their house.

Howie Herscovitch - March 13, 2017 1:29 PM

They say if you wait long enough your ship WILL come in - or dangerously close! The bigger ships have a pretty high profile so I'm would not be surprised if she 'caught' the wind. Btw, we've sailed on her twice in the past three years, nice ship, both cruises were very enjoyable.

John Farrar - March 15, 2017 3:47 PM

My wife and I were on that sailing. We observed the approaching of the house, but it was difficult to tell how close we were while watching from midships. No one realized that we were involved in an "incident" until days later. Clearly, the ship had to back up to correct its course. I don't think that anyone made note of the unusual situation of the captain announcing that he was leaving the ship to "attend a conference" in mid cruise.

I guess we passengers are either trusting, or gullible, or both. John F

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