On 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.
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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