Emerald PrincessToday I received a message stating that there was a fire on the Emerald Princess yesterday.

Yesterday. the Princess cruise ship sailed from Southampton heading toward Las Palas, which is the capital of Gran Canaria, one of Spain’s Canary Islands off northwestern Africa.

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein’s website also contains this comment from a passenger aboard the Emerald Princess:

"Around 11:30 PM the cabin emergency speaker came on with the captain’s voice calling the crew to their (muster) stations. It was obvious to me that this was not a drill. After a moment to collect my thoughts I turned on my scanner that I had pre-tuned to all of the ship frequencies. The scanner was chattering non stop with excited voices about a suspected fuel leak and fire in the engine room. Water tight doors had been closed and the fire fighters were moving into position. I continued to closely listen to my scanner to further assess the situation. What I learned was that smoke had filled the engine room. The Captain ordered the shutdown of generators one and four, smoke was apparently found on the lower aft decks and on deck sixteen. A fuel leak fire was suspected. Then the Captain ordered, or perhaps it was automatic, the activation of the engine room fire suppression system. Let me pause here and tell you that fires on a ship are one of the most serious things that can ever happen. If the fire spreads it can be deadly. As the fire fighters prepared to enter the engine room the fire source was discovered to be a generator air supply fan belt on deck sixteen near the funnels which are not far from the Movies under the Stars (MUTS) outdoor theater. The MUTS was ordered to be shut down while the fire fighters fought the fire. After the fire was put out and the smoke was cleared out of the engine room the Captain came on the cabin speaker system twice to reassure passengers that we were all safe and that he was glad that the “small” fire was extinguished. After he concluded his remarks the scanner started chattering something about engine room cleanup from the fire suppression. What a way to start out a cruise. Hopefully this fire incident will be soon be forgotten."

Assuming this to be accurate, there are no media reports or any mention whatsoever on social media of the fire.

Princess Cruise has demonstrated a lack of transparency about ship fires on the Emerald Princess before. Read our article from two years ago: Fire on the Emerald Princess: What Information Should Passengers Be Entitled to Know?

I wrote at the time:

"My thought is that all passengers are entitled to receive timely, accurate and honest information about something as serious as a fire on the high seas, no matter how small the cruise line claims the fire is or how rapidly the cruise line claim they extinguished it. Such transparency is vital to ensuring corporate accountability and passenger safety." 

Statement from Princess Cruises @ 6:30 P.M. EST  on September 19, 2016:

"While Emerald Princess was en route from Southampton to Las Pal1mas on September 17, a ventilation supply fan belt on Deck 16 combusted. It was extinguished within minutes, and the ship continued to Las Palmas for an on time arrival."

Photo Credit:  By Holger.Ellgaard – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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  • Doug Blow

    Interesting, I was on this ship for the previous cruise. About three days before this fire I was in my stateroom, A 630, when I noticed a faint smell of burning rubber from the ventilation duct I called the housekeeping guy who was outside to see if he could smell it. He said no, but the people next to us did. It lingered for a while then went. I didn’t report it.

  • Scott Lambert

    My parents are on this cruise and the above is a very accurate description. All staff just ran out to muster stations.

    My mother asked a crew member if this was good practice and is there many emergancy musters. He said in 11 years he has never been part of a real non drill muster!

  • Ludovic Reeves

    I was on this cruise, the captain was excellent in giving out information ! Their was no panic on board, the crew where brilliant, it was all over very quickly and everyone got all the info they needed very quickly…we’ll done to emerald crew xxx

  • Sheila Osborne

    My friend and I were on this ship on the day in question. We were woken from our sleep to the Captain calling for the crew only to go to their stations and confirmed it was not a drill. I must admit that it shook us up to start with but have to say the Captain and crew were marvellous. It was over in no time and we continued on our journey. We were updated often and at no time did we feel threatened. On looking out of our balcony we could see other ships were near by just in case. Well done Captain and crew of Emerald Princess

  • Joan Morris

    I was on ship people did panic put lifejackets on and went to lifeboats that’s scary

  • David Matthews

    I was onboard the ship at the time of the “fire”. At no point did I feel any threat to my own safety. At the time the Captain came on the emergency speaker, I along with a fair few other people were watching a film on the top deck. The Captain kept everybody informed and gave a thorough account the following day. Sadly there were some people onboard that completely overreacted to the situation. These things happen and as the old saying goes “Worse things happen at sea”! Credit to the Captain and crew.