Multiple news sources are reporting that six crewmembers on Celebrity’s Mercury cruise ship at the Port of Baltimore are being treated for exposure to carbon monoxide.
Fire rescue officials took the the six crew members to local hospitals.
According to WBAL TV in Baltimore, the Baltimore fire department spokesman Chief Kevin Cartwright said crews responded to the scene at about 11:30 a.m. Saturday to treat the victims.
Cynthia Martinez, the PR spokesperson for Royal Caribbean Cruises (the parent company of Celebrity Cruises) issued a statement that crew members were performing a welding operation on board the ship inside the engine room Friday. The members began to report respiratory problems and other medical issues after they completed their work and reported to the ship’s medical facility.
A local ABC station reports that "at least 5 medical units, a Hazmat team, and an EMS Commander are currently at the scene treating the victims and taking carbon monoxide readings to determine the air’s quality."
The cruise line PR spokesperson also said: "Out of an abundance of caution, the ship staff contacted city fire and rescue, which responded Saturday to treat the 6 crew members and transport them to hospitals." Ms. Martinez claims that all six crew members were walking when they entered the ambulances to go to the hospitals.
The TV station in Baltimore also reports that a Hazmat crew is trying to determine where the leak was coming from.
Update February 14, 2010:
One of the writers at the online cruise community CruiseMates.com brought the following article to my attention: "6 Workers Sickened On Cruise Ship In Baltimore" written by the AP and published on the web site of a local CBS affiliate WJZ in Baltimore. The article contained the photo below. It has a little more detail and indicates that the Hazmat team did not find carbon monoxide on the ship:
"Baltimore City Fire and hazmat officials went on the ship and tested for CO and found nothing."
This does not appear particularly surprising, because the testing was done 12 to 18 hours after the suspected exposure.
Cynthia Martinez, the PR spokesperson for the cruise line, is attributed saying that the Mercury cruise ship can hold a couple thousand passengers. The cruise ship was heading to Baltimore at the time of the incident. She indicated that the six ill six workers had been working in the engine room, welding pipes with welding gear Friday night at the time of the suspected exposure.
There have been no reports by the hospitals or the cruise line regarding the current medical condition of the ill crewmembers.
The Mercury was cleared to sail to South Carolina and has no passengers are on it until they board in Charlston.
Celebrity Cruises’ Mercury cruise ship Baltimore Sun
Hazmat photograph AP / CBS Baltimore affiliate WJZ