Four years ago today, Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas caught on fire as it approached the port of Falmouth, Jamaica. A former Royal Caribbean crew member, Kevin Chambers who lives near Falmouth, and who we previously represented, videotaped the blaze. The video below has been viewed on Facebook over 1,200,000 times.
Video of the Freedom of the Seas fire. Video Credit: Kevin Chambers
Posted by Cruise Law News on Wednesday, July 22, 2015
When Royal Caribbean tried to spin the story, with a misleading statement by its CEO that the fire was allegedly “small and quickly extinguished,” the public could see the size and ferocity of the fire. All of the major networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) carried the video on their news programs and the international media included the video on their multi-media presentations.
The public could come to their own conclusions whether the cruise line was out-of-touch with the danger posed to its guests or whether it deliberately fabricated a falsehood to masquerade as the truth, which I suggested in the Royal Caribbean “Small Fire” Hoax.
A reader of this blog sent us several photos of the internal damage to the Freedom of the Seas today. Take a look here.
One crew member was seriously burned by the fire although no passengers were injured. The fire on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship occurred at a time when Carnival cruise ships, it seemed, were igniting on an all too frequent basis.
Passengers also sent us copies of videos which they took of the large fire.
Neither the flag state, the classification society, the vessel’s underwriters nor the U.S. Coast Guard conducted a survey of the damage before the ship continued its cruise the following day. No one initiated a prompt investigation into the root cause of the fire. The Bahamas Maritime Authority subsequently conducted an investigation which essentially white-washed the incident. As we wrote soon after the fire, Royal Caribbean had hired an engineering group to install a scrubber system which involved extensive welding operations while the ship was underway, rather than conduct such dangerous fire-hazard type of work during a dry dock. Read: Fire on the Freedom: The Show Must Go On.
Photo Credit: Raymond Bower.