Fire Breaks Out on Carnival Sunshine

Last Friday evening, there were comments on social media that a fire had broken out on the Carnival Sunshine which caused damage to a passenger balcony.  

The initial comments, on Facebook, were to the effect that the cabin was located on deck 6, fire doors were closed and a number of firefighters responded to the fire. The initial speculation was that the fire was started by a smoker on the balcony or perhaps from a flicked cigarette which landed on a balcony towel?

Carnival released an official statement the next morning, stating that: "A small fire occurred yesterday evening on a passenger cabin balcony on Carnival Sunshine. The specific location of origin appears to have been a towel on a balcony chair. The fire was quickly extinguished. Guests were advised of the Cruise Ship Balconies - Fire detection, Alarm and Suppression Systemsituation and all operations on board continued per normal."

Many people have suggested that the fire wasn't serious because it was characterized as "small" and "quickly extinguished." Of course, every fire on the high seas is potentially very serious and starts out small.

The issue remains whether the balcony in question was equipped with a "fixed pressure water-spraying and fixed fire detection and fire alarm systems," as required by amendments to the SOLAS regulations when the furniture and furnishings on cabin balconies are not of "restricted fire risk."

These amendments to SOLAS came about after the deadly fire aboard the Star Princess in 2006 which burned through over a hundred cabins after a flicked cigarette caught a towel on a passenger balcony on fire. The MAIB was critical of the fact that the balcony chairs and balcony partitions were highly combustible and caused heavy, toxic smoke. None of the balconies had heat or smoke detectors or sprinkler systems.

We represented the family of Richard Liffridge who died in the fire. After his death, Princess said that it quickly replaced the balcony partitions, furniture and furnishings with fire-resistant items and installed fixed sprinkler and fire detection systems on the balconies of its fleet of cruise ships. 

Mr. Liffridge's daughter later went aboard the Star Princess and inspected the balcony and fire detection systems. You can read about that here, Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires - Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything?  She testified before Congress regarding the need for all cruise ships  to be equipped with balcony fire detection and suppression systems.  

However, when the International Maritime Organization (IMO) amended SOLAS, it did not require all cruise ships to install balcony fire systems. It waived the requirement where the cruise line balcony furniture and furnishings were of "restricted fire risk."  

Other than Princess, few other cruise lines publicly state whether their ships are retrofitted with balcony sprinkler systems or whether the newly built cruise ships (after July 1, 2008) are equipped with such safety features.  

Do all of the 100 plus cruise ships owned by Carnival Corporation, and operated by its numerous brands, have fire detection, alarm and suppression systems on the passenger balconies? How about other cruise lines?  Have some cruise lines just replaced the balcony partitions and furniture with less combustible and less toxic-when-burned substances and deck coverings?

We have asked Carnival for an explanation whether the balcony on the Sunshine was equipped with a heat detection and sprinkler system.  We will report if Carnival answers us. Did the fire proceed from the balcony and enter the passenger cabin?  We would also like to know whether the fire was extinguished with an automatic system or whether firefighters had to go to the scene and manually extinguish it. 

Was the bridge automatically notified by a balcony alarm system when the fire broke out or was the fire first observed by passengers who reported it?  

Perhaps the Sunshine has such a system. Was it functioning correctly? SOLAS requires that the system be periodically tested and sprinkler heads should be maintained, cleaned and inspected.

It was fortunate that this fire happened in the evening (between 8 and 9 P.M.) and did not break out in the early morning hours when most passengers were asleep. 

There should be an investigation into these basic facts rather than a quick conclusion that the fire was small and not serious.  

If you are taking a cruise, walk out to the balcony and look up.  Is it is equipped with a fire detector (heat or smoke) and sprinkler system?  Let us know. 

Have a thought?  Join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Death on the Carnival Dream

CArnival DreamWe have been contacted by a half-dozen passengers from the Carnival Dream ship sailing out of New Orleans. They have inquired about the death last week of a 30 year-old man (passenger) sailing with his wife and other couples. 

He apparently fell from his cabin's balcony and landed on an exterior deck that runs above the lifeboats (deck 5 I believe). This occurred on Tuesday, January 20th.

The cruise ship called on Cozumel on Tuesday, Grand Cayman on Wednesday and Montego Bay on Thursday.

The FBI was supposed to board on Sunday when the ship returned to New Orleans. There have been no reports we know of foul play.

He is from Missouri. Carnival flew his wife home during the cruise. 

Have a comment? Leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.


Photo Credit: "Carnival Dream Bow" by Longbowe at en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Death Aboard the Magic: Carnival Passenger Falls From Balcony

Carnival Magic Cruise ShipNews stations in Houston are reporting that a 39 year old man fell from a balcony during a cruise on the Carnival Magic cruise ship.

The accident happened Tuesday morning while the cruise ship was sailing in the Gulf of Mexico heading toward Mahogany Bay in Roatan. The cruise line states that the passenger was sitting on his cabin balcony railing when he fell onto an open deck area three decks below. He died.

The newspaper accounts do not disclose the time of the incident or whether alcohol was involved.

The Magic is on a seven-day cruise to the Caribbean. It left out of Galveston last Sunday.

July 5 2013 Update: A news station has identified the man who died during the cruise.


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Toddler Falls From Balcony on Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas

A cruise leaving yesterday from Port Canaveral Florida quickly turned into a nightmare when a family's one-year-old child fell from a balcony to the balcony below.

According to WFTV, the incident occurred on the Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas which left yesterday afternoon from Port Canaveral around 4:30 PM. 

The news station states that a one-year-old child crawled through an 11th floor railing and fell to a balcony one floor below. Other news stations do not refer to a fall from a "balcony" but a fall from one deck to the deck below.

The cruise ship turned around and headed back to port. The child was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, some say at 6:30 PM and others say at 7:30 PM.

There are many images of stateroom balconies of this cruise ship on line. Some of the images show vertical railings and well as a horizontal railing at the bottom of stateroom balconies. But my understanding is that deck 11 contains the pools and sports deck and does not contain staterooms. Anyone with information about the railings on deck 11 or how this could occur, please leave a comment below. 

Royal Caribbean issued a statement:

"On Friday, December 21, a 14 month old guest from India traveling on Monarch of the Seas was Monarch of the Seas Cruise Shipinjured in a fall. The guest was initially treated in our medical facility, but required additional and urgent medical attention that could only be provided in a hospital. Therefore, the ship turned around and returned to Port Canaveral, Florida, where we could debark the guest and their family so that the guest could receive urgent medical care.

Our Care Team is providing support and assistance to the guest’s family. Our thoughts are with their family, and we will continue to do our very best to assist them.

Monarch of the Seas is sailing a three-night itinerary that will call to CocoCay and Nassau, Bahamas."

December 26, 2012 Update: a passengers on the cruise left a comment below, stating that the toddler fell from deck 12 down to deck 11 (the pool deck, photo above).

Passenger Falls to His Death on MSC Fantasia Cruise Ship

Theobald Perelo - Passenger - MSC Fantasia Cruise Ship DeathA number of sources are reporting on the death of a Brazilian man who fell from an upper balcony on the MSC Fantasia cruise ship today.

Some are saying that he fell from the eight or ninth deck to the fifth deck, apparently from an interior balcony.

The cruise ship was sailing between Santos and Rio de Janeiro, carrying 3780 passengers on a three-night cruise. The passenger is identified as Theobald Perelo. One newspaper in Brazil, A Tribuna, referred to him as the owner of one of the largest wholesale distributors in the region and a figure well known and respected in Ilheus, Bahia.

Another source said that the businessman was awarded a cruise and was traveling in the company of his son in law and some employees of the company (Distributor Perelo). The wife remained in Ilheus during the cruise.

There is a great deal of speculation about what happened, with reference to a possible heart attack which seems strange. How do you have a heart attack and then fall over a railing?  

Anyone with information please leave a comment below.

December 7 2012: we received this information from someone on the cruise ship:  

The guy fell from the balcony of his cabin from the ninth deck to the seventh deck onto to his head . . . he was 52 and had possible heart attack when he fell because he went straight down like a stone. He had no signs of alcohol in the blood. The ship was cruising from Santos to Ilhabela and was about 1:00 am when it happened. The police came today on board but they just took the body and left in less than an hour. The passenger was shearing the cabin with his son in law who was not present at that time. The Brazilians on board are saying that the police is corrupt big time and the captain got rid of them very fast.


Photo Credit:  Blog do Gusmao