Aqua Amazon Explodes & Sinks in Amazon, Four Crew Members Missing

Aqua Amazon ExplosionThe Amazon River cruise ship Aqua Amazon reportedly exploded and partially sank yesterday, according to a press statement released by the founder and CEO. Francesco Galli Zugaro, of Aqua Expeditions.

Mr. Zugaro offered no explanation regarding why the river cruise boat exploded. The press statement says that the incident occurred "during the regular Saturday supplying and turn-around hours for re-stocking of the vessel."

Mr. Zugaro also did not disclose the number of crew members who were were reportedly injured but did state that four crew members are missing. No passengers were on the ship at the time of the explosion.

Daniel Carbajal of the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio took photos of the burned river boat (left and below). He reports that the explosion occurred during a fueling operation due to a "short circuit" leading to two explosions and a fire, resulting in 13 crew members of the ship being injured. The incident occurred "in the port of Enapu, located along the Itaya River, Punchana district in Iquitos (Loreto)." The explosion reportedly blew a hole in the ship and it partially sank on its side.

The Peruvian newspaper also states that "the first police investigations reveal that aquatic ship arrived Aqua Amazon Explosionto the port to fill the gas tank without any security measures. The incident caused burns to 8 people, who had to jump into the flowing and being rescued by residents and staff Enapu who was nearby . . . It is presumed that some people were trapped inside the ship."

The news report further states that 'the search was called off at nightfall due to lack of equipment necessary for the work."

River cruises on the Amazon have been in the news lately. Armed bandits robbed passengers aboard the Amazon Discovery last week. In April, a deadly fire aboard the La Estrella Amazonica resulted in the death of two American passengers. The media downplayed this latest robbery on the Peruvian Amazon which comes after a number of recent incidents as well as similar robberies dating back of the course of many years. It was widely reported that the 8 armed bandits robbed the passengers of a total $20,000.  We have been contacted by a number of passengers one of who states that some of the passengers were physically assaulted. One passenger left a comment indicating that the "the truth is each of the 30 passengers lost about $20,000." We are told that the Amazon Discovery had no security personnel aboard the river cruise boat at the time of the attack. 

Photo Credit: Daniel Carbajal of El Comercio

Update: ENCA reports that "one cruise-ship employee reported that the explosion may have been sparked by crews doing welding work."

July 19 2016 Update:  Jill Hammer Malott, one of the daughters of Drs. Larry and Christy Hammer, writes about the troubling trend on the Peruvian Amazon River. Her comments follow the Aqua Amazon’s sinking on Saturday and the robbery aboard the Amazon Discovery one day earlier. These two incidents come on the heels of the tragedy aboard International Expeditions’ La Estrella Amazonica in early April, when her parents - Drs. Larry and Christy Hammer - died in a cabin fire (see comments in article) that started through no fault of their own.

“Between robberies and deadly fires, a string of recent tragedies on the Peruvian Amazon is a sad reminder that many cruise companies—including those based in the United States—cut corners on basic safety and security measures, routinely risking the lives of passengers and crew alike. My parents died aboard La Estrella Amazonica in April, after a fire erupted in their cabin through no fault of their own. My family has seen first-hand how the absence of things like in-room fire alarms, flammability-rated power strips, and a well-trained crew can have fatal consequences. We’ve also experienced how hard cruise companies—in our case, International Expeditions, an eco-tourism company based in Alabama—work to brush these incidents under the rug in an effort to mitigate public relations damage. It is our fervent hope that more accountability is demanded of the cruise industry operating in the Amazon in the wake of these tragedies.”

July 18 2016 Update:  

Peru This Week reports that the crew casualties are up to 7 dead and 13 seriously burned.  The article says that "although the causes of the accident are still being investigated, police officials have indications that a short circuit may have caused the explosion . . .

While the company Aqua Expeditions recognizes that the accident happened during the refueling of the ship, they’ve said that it was done properly, following all the safety guidelines.

However, police sources indicate that the vessel did not comply with all the safety measure required during fueling. The harbormaster would not comment until the completed their investigation."

International Business Times (IBT) posted a video of the aftermath of the explosion and fire (below): 

How the Next Jihadist Terror Attack Against Cruise Passengers Will Happen

USS Cole AttackFor the past couple of years I've been troubled by the increasing violence in North Africa and the Middle East and the unprecedented nature of the cruelty of jihadist terrorists who have beheaded and burned "infidels" alive. I have worried about various scenarios where cruise passengers are at risk of attack.

We already know that al Qaeda has planned to seize cruise ships and execute passengers.

 Our readers have sent us various scenarios of how cruise passengers are at risk on the high seas and in ports of call. 

A terrorist fires a RPG into a cruise ship: Libya is awash in weapons after Colonel Muammar Gadaffi was killed and lost control of the country. Automatic weapons, rocket propelled grenades (RPG's), mortars, bazookas, and anti-aircraft guns have fallen into the hands of violent religious fanatics. The two Tunisian terrorists killed during the attack on Costa and MSC cruise passengers were trained in Libya. ISIS and Al Qaeda, of course, have access to weapons, including RPG's, throughout the Middle East.

Think it's far fetched? Think again. Al Qaeda has already used this weapon to attack tankers in the Middle East. In the video below, you can see the terrorists fire their weapons, yell Allah Akbar ("God is Great") and run off into the bushes. Cruise ships are easy targets, over three football fields long and 15 stories high, moving at only a few knots an hours while entering and leaving ports. A RPG would slice though the aluminum hull like butter and cause fire, damage, injuries and death. They're sitting ducks without military escorts. 

A USS Cole-style kamikaze attack on a cruise ship:  Remember the U.S.S. Cole? 17 service men USS Cole Attackand women were murdered when suicide bombers rammed their speed boat loaded with explosives into the U.S. navy ship. Such an attack during a fueling operation while a fuel barge is alongside a cruise ship would result in a tremendous explosion with many hundreds of deaths.

Blowing up a tour excursion bus:There have been many tour buses filled with tourists which terrorists have attacked over the years. A bus with Korean tourists was exploded in Egypt last year. The saying "safety in numbers" doesn't apply to cruise passengers; its more likely to make you a target when you come off of a cruise ship and board a bus with fifty other passengers. You can see what a terrorist attack on a bus looks like in the video below.

Al Qaeda embeds themselves as crew members or passengers: After 9/11 and the attack on the twin towers, my office received a call from an agitated U.S. crew member (a musician). He was upset that other crew members on a U.S based cruise ship which sailed into Miami were literally cheering while watching televised images of the death and destruction. Some cruise lines boast that their crew come from 60 different countries. This may well be an asset in most circumstances but it underscores the fact that the crew members have loyalties to other countries and other causes than those shared by U.S. Tourist Bus Attackpassengers.

A reader of my recent article for Yahoo Travel titled Is Cruising Safe? A Chilling Look at an Industry Under Siege offered this scenario:

". . . This isn't about the ports and the safety of them. A terrorist could be among you at the buffet, laying by the pool, playing slots, drinking at the bar … they lay in wait. They're completely legitimate looking like one of us. 50 of them could board a ship as a passenger with a clean record. They've been trained in other countries. They've lived in the countries they're in for years and they lay in wait anticipating their marching orders. Then three days into the cruise, they take over the ship and start killing passengers . . . And that's how it'll go down."

The cruise industry needs to wake up. Tunis was preventable. Greater attention to Al Qaeda and ISIS is necessary to avoid a similar if not worse attack on innocent passengers. Dangerous ports need to be avoided. In the past, Princess Cruises used security teams / police to accompany tour bus excursions in Egypt. Maritime security teams are also required in foreign ports of call to address the risk of waterborne attacks. Cruise lines are overflowing with cash. The cruise industry collects around $40 billion a year, pay their crew members peanuts and doesn't pay U.S. taxes. The industry needs to start investing some of those tens of millions of dollars into substantial security to keep their guests safe. 

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

  

 

 

Photo Credit: USS Cole diagram - Reuters; bus explosion - AP via Yahoo Travel 

Explosion Aboard MSC Orchestra: 3 Crew Members Injured

A Facebook page focusing on the rights of Brazilians working on cruise ships reports today of a serious accident aboard a MSC cruise ship resulting in serious injuries to three crew members.

The page is entitled Direito Do Trabalhador Brasileiro Em Navios Cruzeiros (Law Of Brazilian Workers On Cruise Ships).

It states that an accident occurred on the MSC Orchestra involving three crew members who were working without proper equipment. The cruise line is alleged to have provided the correct equipment. They were cleaning a tank when gas escaped and an explosion occurred.

One crew member was hospitalized and the two other men remain in serious condition in the cruise ship's infirmary. 

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

MSC Orchestra

Photo Credit: Direito Do Trabalhador Brasileiro Em Navios Cruzeiros

ABC News: Passengers on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas Heard "Big Explosions"

According to ABC News, passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas said they heard "big explosions" after a fire broke out early Monday morning, charring the stern of the ship and forcing an early end to the cruise.

Royal Caribbean said the fire was discovered at 2:50 AM on Monday on the mooring area on deck three. The decks above were charred in the fire. Passenger remained at their muster stations until around 7:15 AM. 

Passenger Luke Sluscher, 20, was awakened by the commotion. When he stepped outside his room, he "heard crew yelling mayday, mayday, as they ran to put out the fire."  

Royal Caribbean is now flying passengers back to Baltimore from Freeport, Bahamas. Passengers will receive a full refund of their fare and a certificate for a future cruise.

Royal Caribbean's PR team received high marks for using social media to keep the public informed and by flying its president, Adam Goldstein, to the scene.

Watch the remainder of the story below:

 

 

Oil Platform Explodes in Gulf of Mexico Near Louisiana - 4 Missing and 11 Taken to Hospital

Black Elk Energy Oil Platform Explosion An oil platform with 26 workers aboard exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.  The explosion resulted in the death of at least two men with two additional men missing. Eleven workers were reportedly taken to the hospital, some of whom are in critical condition. 

The explosion involved an oil platform, operated by Houston-based Black Elk Energy company, located approximately 20 miles south of Grand Isle Louisiana. 

This explosion comes at a time when oil giant BP just reached a plea settlement (on Wednesday), accepting guilt in the deaths of 11 oil workers and agreeing to pay $4,500,000,000 in penalties, following a catastrophic explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in April 2010, leading to one of the U.S.'s worst environmental disasters.

Although many news account refer to the Black Elk platform as a "rig," the explosion did not involve a drilling rig like the infamous Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. This incident involves a fixed production platform.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that between 2001 and 2010, the U.S. government documented 69 offshore deaths, 1,349 injuries and 858 fires and explosions on offshore rigs situated in the Gulf of Mexico.  These type of accidents often fall within maritime jurisdiction and involves issues of law pertaining to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the law of Louisiana, and the General Maritime Law.  

Black Elk has not issued a statement yet, and the Coast Guard is still gathering initial data, including an exact number of those injured, killed, or missing.  

 

 

 

Photo credit: Pamela Garrie Kibodeaux / KATC

Fuel Pump Explosion & Power Outage on HAL's Statendam

Cruise List broke a story today about a power outage which occurred on Holland America Line's  Statendam cruise ship last Thursday. 

The Cruise List blog explains that last Thursday evening his proprietary application which searches for cruise information on Twitter picked up a tweet about a “fuel pump explosion” that caused a “two hour Power Outage on the Statendam.”  He re-tweeted it but later deleted it when he received a direct message from the person originally tweeting the information, begging him to delete it for Cruise Ship Power Outagereasons not explained (he sounds a lot nicer than me).

Cruise List then left a post on Cruise Critic asking if anyone knew about an incident on the Statendam. Yes, several passengers responded - the cruise ship indeed "lost all power and were serving cheese sandwiches in the main dining room."

This incident seems to have passed without much consequence other than the inconvenience of cheese sandwiches. But the Statendam is almost two decades old - it is one of the older ships in the modern cruise line industry.

As the last couple of years have demonstrated, power failures on cruise ship are a very serious matter. Engine room fires and explosions which disable cruise ships, for a few hours or to the point that the ship is disabled at sea, are hardly rare. Consider these incidents in the last three years:

  • The Sun Princess lost power earlier this month;
  • The Costa Allegra lost all power off the coast of southern Africa earlier this year and had to be towed back to a port;
  • The M/V Plancius adventure cruise ship lost power and was stranded in the South Atlantic;
  • The Azamara Quest lost most of its power this year following an engine room fire near Bornea;
  • The Cunard QM2 suffered what is described as a catastrophic explosion and lost power on the high seas;
  • The MSC Opera lost power in the Baltic Sea, with passengers describing the ordeal as "shocking, scary, with dark hallways and backed up toilets," according to the BBC.
  • The Norwegian Dawn lost power in the Caribbean; and
  • The most famous recent power failure occurred aboard the Carnival Splendor. The U.S.S. Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier had to send helicopters to drop relief food to the cruise ship and a fleet of tug boats had to push and pull the Splendor to San Diego for extensive repairs.  

Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship Stranded - Power OutageThe cruise industry tries to keep explosions and power outages quiet, to avoid images like the Carnival Splendor cruise ship (right) stranded at sea or videos like this.  

The Statendam captain's blog mentions nothing about the power outage. I'm sure that that's not a reflection of him as much as a corporate policy prohibiting any mention of something like this.

It's important for the cruise community to keep an eye out for potential safety issues that the cruise lines would prefer you not know.

Hats off to Cruise List, which states that it "was created as a place where you could go to see what was going on aboard ships without a sales pitch." 

Fire Breaks Out Aboard Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship

Tonight I began to receive text messages from passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas stating that a fire broke out in the engine room.  Heavy black smoke billowed out of the stacks. There was initial panic by some passengers. The cruise ship made emergency announcement and altered its course so that the prevailing winds would not blow smoke into the ship.  

There are no reports of injuries to passengers at this time.  The Allure is continuing its cruise and there apparently remains propulsion, electricity, lights, and air conditioning.  The ship is heading from St. Maarten back to Fort Lauderdale, and is somewhere east of Turks and Caicos.  

We do not have a statement from the cruise line at this time.

Allure of the Seas - Cruise Ship FiresIt has not been a good year for the cruise industry, as everyone knows. Just last month there was a disabling fire in the engine room of Royal Caribbean's Quest cruise ship operated by its subsidiary Azamara.   In February, there was a disabling fire aboard the Costa Allegra.

Cruise ship fires are not uncommon. There have been 79 fires on cruise ships since 1990.  This one makes 80 in 22 years.  Almost 4 a year. Read our article "Ten Years of Cruise ship Fires - Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything?"

If you are on the cruise and have info, photos or video, please leave a message.

Update April 20, 2012:  Several readers pointed out that my reference to and photos on the webcam were dated April 19, 2012 (yesterday).  The webcam is not active now. I deleted the image.  Sorry for the misleading reference to normal events yesterday - but why is the webcam not showing what's going on tonight?  I suspect the cruise line shuts the web cams down during emergencies.

Update April 21, 2012:  Here is the official cruise line PR statement:

"At approximately 7:45 pm (ET) Royal Caribbean International's Allure of the Seas experienced a small and short lived engine fire. The ship's high fog system was immediately activated, which contained and extinguished the fire. There were no injuries to guest or crew. The ship is sailing towards Port Everglades, Florida, where it will arrive on Sunday, April 22 as scheduled."

Royal Caribbean wrote a masterful PR statement.  "Small" fire which lasted "short" time and was "immediately" extinguished.  But let's have some real information?   What caused the fire?  Why did a new ship touted as having new generation technology catch on fire in the first place?   All fires start out "small."  A small fire on a huge ship in the middle of the sea is not a good thing. The 2006 fire aboard the Star Princess started out with a single cigarette smoldering in a towel and then barely erupting, yet it led to 100 cabins being destroyed, one death and multiple injuries.

Did An Explosion Occur Before the Fire on the Allure of the Seas?

We have received some inquiries asking whether an explosion took place in the engine room before the fire broke out.  Does anyone have any information about this claim?  It was mentioned that: "This morning it was reported on the Swedish shipping forum Landgangen that Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship Fire - Explosion - Ship FireALLURE OF THE SEAS experienced an engine explosion/failure last night. According to a Swede who is currently on board, first a loud bang was heard, followed a few minutes later by a tremendous shaking sensation throughout the ship."  Can anyone aboard verify this?  

The Vessel Tracker web site contains a comment that there was a "bang" that preceded the fire and that the vcruise ship drifted between one and two hours before continuing back to South Florida: 

"Passengers of the 'Allure of the Seas' were alerted by a bang on 7.45 p.m. on Apr 20, 2012, followed by development of smoke. Soon afterwards fire instructions were given to the crew. Shortly thereafter the captain informed the passengers that there had been an incident in the engine and that all watertight bulkheads had been closed. The entire section 6, apparently the section that includes Viking Crown Lounge, was evacuated. Some passengers on board were shocked, however, no one was injured. The ship drifted between one and two hours before continuing with the only one functioning machine left after the small and short-lived engine fire was extinguished by using the ship's high fog system which had been immediately activated to contain the fire."

Did the cruise ship really drift for this long?  This could have been very serious if the explosion and fire occurred during a storm.   

Update April 22, 2012:  Some passengers disembarking the Allure today (see comments below) state that there certainly was an explosion in the engine room, initial panic and less than optimal communications.  One passenger commented that Royal Caribbean was down-playing what happened. I am sure that other passengers will leave comments as they are now off of the cruise ship and will be describing what they observed from their home computers.  

A reader brought to my attention that there is an interesting thread of comments on the cruise critic message board by passengers who disembarked, including this one:

"Just got off the Allure and I have to disagree that there was NO panic. The crew were visibly scared as we're many of the passengers. Our cabin steward told us that our hallway had many families in tears and begging for life jackets. We were in the main dining room for our lobster dinner and when you feel a 225000 ton ship shake like that you know something big just happened. The crew were trying very hard to appear in control and they did a good job, but you could seem them passing notes to each other and the concern on their faces. We were finished our dinner, but skipped out on desert because I really couldn't eat much after hearing Bravo bravo bravo and water tight doors closing. We saw many in tears and I felt the need to get my kids away from that and the ridiculous people that laughingly and loudly started talking about the titanic and going down with the ship. We strolled the the Royal Promenade and tried to appear normal for the kids. Communication was good and they did a great job of handling things quickly, but there were lots feeling very unsettled. Very glad it ended quickly."

Another passenger said there were "nervous" people but no panic.  The passenger also commented: " . . . no power from the engines as it appeared we were drifting - this occurred for at least an hour maybe two . . . "  

It will be interesting to hear what other passengers observed . . . anyone have photos or videos of initial reaction of passengers and crew? . . . Please leave a comment below:    

Explosion and Fire Temporarily Disable Cruise Ferry Stena Saga

Stena Saga - Cruise Ship - Ferry Norwegian Broadcasting reports that the cruise-ferry Stena Saga, which operates between Oslo and Fredrikshavn in Denmark, was hit by an explosion in its engine room over the Easter weekend.  The explosion sparked a fire. 

A newspaper in Norway reports that "alarmed residents south of Drøbak called emergency services when they saw smoke billowing from the ship and noted that it was off course in the sound leading into the inner Oslo Fjord."

A Stena Line spokesman confirmed that the explosion created a lot of smoke but claimed it was contained by the vessel’s sprinkling system in the engine room.  The vessel drifted for a brief period but was able to continue sailing towards Oslo, where it arrived around 30 minutes late.

1,392 passengers and a crew of 180 were on on board at the time of the explosion and fire, although no evacuation took place.

A cruise line spokesperson stated that the incident involved a "minor" explosion which caused "no major damage."  The vessel was cleared to sail back to Denmark Saturday night.

If you were on the ferry and have information, photos or video to share, please leave a comment below. 

Eye Witness Accounts: Oil Tank Explosion Panics Cruise Passengers / Independence of the Seas Quickly Leaves Port

The Telegraph newspaper in the U.K. has an interesting story containing a passenger's account of events aboard the Independence of the Seas following the explosion at the port in Gibraltar.  Some of the accounts:

“People thought it was a bomb and started screaming. Parents jumped in the pool to grab their children, while others dashed to the kids’ club on deck 12 to see if their children were injured.”

"One crew member . . . heard screaming and saw black smoke; she thought one of the restaurants was on fire."

"At dinner that night, the explosion was on everyone’s lips. 'We thought it was a bomb,' one middle-aged passenger said. 'American ship in a British port – quite an easy target.'

All of the accounts we have read praised the captain and crew.  "Within minutes, the captain made an announcement, ordering everyone off the open decks and balconies, and sending a rapid response team up to deck 11 where the outdoor pools and bars were packed with young families making the most of the Gibraltar heat."

"Officers ran along the side of the dock to the stern of the ship, presumably to check for any damage . . .   Just four minutes later, we slipped our moorings and the ship sailed . . . Thanks to a quick-thinking captain, a major incident was averted." 

YouTube member "Kasbah89" posted a video of the fire.  It shows the Independence of the Seas quickly departing away from the burning oil tank and turning to head out of danger:

 

   

Were you on the cruise and have photos or video to share?  Please let us here from you.

Video credit:  kasbah89 / YouTube

Some amazing photographs can be viewed at David Parody's Flickr photostream here.

Explosion Rocks Port in Gibraltar - Independence of the Seas Avoids Damage

Independence of the Seas - Explosion - GilbraltarSeveral news sources are reporting that an oil tank exploded at the port in Gibraltar today.

Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas cruise ship was in port at the time of the explosion.  One newspaper reports that the cruise ship was due to sail at 4 p.m. but was "berthed nearby" when the oil tank exploded. 

The cruise ship then reportedly "quickly sailed away and anchored in the bay."

The Gilbraltar Chronicle reports that two people ashore were injured, one reportedly seriously due to burns. 

Twelve cruise passengers were injured.  The cruise line issued a statement indicating that the injuries are allegedly "minor."  Subsequent news sources are saying that eleven Britons and one Swiss passenger sustained injuries consisting of burns, abrasions and a dislocated finger.

Radio Gilbraltar ran a live feed of the fire as it continued to burn, with an additional oil tank involved.  Radio Gilbraltar reports that the Independence of the Seas felt the "full force" of the blast: 

There is an indication that the explosion may have been caused by a spark from welding.

If you have photos or video of this incident, please contact us and we will post them on our blog.

Independence of the Seas - Explosion - Gilbraltar

Photo credit:  

Top:  Gibraltar Chronicle

Bottom:  Panorama newspaper in Gibraltar (Douglas Cumming)

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)

 

Cruise Ship Social Media: Everyone Loves A Disaster Movie

In the last eleven months since I launched Cruise Law News (CLN), I have written what I thought were thoughtful and carefully researched articles about the cruise industry.  But most of my most favorite blogs about the most important issues facing cruise passengers received little feedback and only a few hundred readers.

Poseidon Adventure - Cruise Disaster - Sinking - FireI have found that my most popular blogs involved cruise ship disasters. 

That's right. Terror.  Fear.  Panic.

When I was a kid the box office hits included movies like the Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno.  Thirty years later, my kids were raised on Titanic and Cloverfield.       

So it should be no surprise that one of my most popular blogs over the last year involved an incident where Carnival's Ecstasy cruise ship made a violent turn in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico which emptied the swimming pool on the Lido deck, injured 60 passengers, and terrorized the remaining 2,000 passengers who feared that the cruise ship was about to tilt over and they were going to die. 

Carnival claimed that the cruise ship made an evasive maneuver to avoid a loose buoy.  But the passengers tell a different story.  Take a moment and read the comments to Did Carnival's Ecstasy Cruise Ship Almost Hit A Sand Bar?

In addition to my blog, I have a YouTube page called, obviously enough, "Cruise Law," where I post cruise videos.  The most popular video is "Wave Hits Louis Majesty Cruise Ship."  A huge wave smashes into the cruise ship's bay windows, killing passengers and flooding the ship.  Over 86,000 people have viewed the video since March. 

Yes, the video is terrifying.   

Exactly what most Americans raised-on-disaster-movies are looking for.  Today, we are living in a iReport society where CNN, MSNBC and FOX News regularly broadcast iPhone videos of fires, floods, and bedlam. 

One of the most popular cruise videos on YouTube shows a cruise ship being tossed around in a storm.  It looks like the cruise ship is about to tip over at any moment.  The video has over 2,500,000 views.  Take a look below and you can see why it is so popular. 

There will be many stories in the future where cruise ships catch on fire, sink or are hijacked by terrorists.   The cruise lines will frantically try and suppress the images and assure the public that everything is OK.  But YouTube will be there to reveal the truth.  And everyone will be watching the disaster.

      

 

Video credit: CrystalBeast123