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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Cruise Ship Fire Leaves Thousands Stranded

Carnival Cruise Lines recently had a crisis aboard their state-of-the-art, two year old, $650 million dollar cruise line. You may have heard rumors from various media sources due to miscommunication and the lack of facts available early on.

The truth is that the media's eagerness to paint a picture of “starving passengers” awaiting rescue did not accurately portray the events that were unfolding aboard the Splendor.

At approximately 6:05 am on November 8, the captain calls for the fire team to respond to smoke which was filling the engine room. When the response team first arrived, the smoke was so thick that they could not see any flames. Even with breathing apparatuses on it was difficult for them to breathe. After 2 ½ hours and flooding the engine room with CO2, the fire crisis had been “managed.”

Due to the CO2 disabling the propulsion-systems control processors, the ship was dead in the water with no power and only a satellite phone to communicate with the outside world. As a result, the crews could only communicate through portable audio equipment and using their emergency systems for announcements. The passengers would be stranded with no hot food or communication with their loved ones until the ship could be towed into San Diego four days later.

When a $650 million dollar cruise ships’ power goes out so do the normal lines of communication. How would you communicate without the ability to use the internet, phones, or satellite? Without portable sound systems, the crew aboard the Splendor would not have been able to respond to the crisis effectively. Portable sound systems allowed them to communicate in high noise environments, organize passengers, and keep an already bad situation from escalating.

Related Links:
Reaction Alert - A more in depth blog about the carnival splendor crisis.
Communicate Your Safety Message With Portable PA Systems
All Blogs Labeled Emergency Planning