Caribbean Fantasy Moored, Still Burning
The passenger vessel ferry Caribbean Fantasy was moored safely at Pier 15 in San Juan Harbor on Saturday. The Fantasy caught fire near San Juan, Puerto Rico, early on Wednesday, then drifted aground just off of Punta Salinas.
Fire-fighting teams that entered the engine room on Saturday morning reported that only a single source of fire contained in the engine room remains. A fire and extinguishing plan is being finalized.
The U.S. Coast Guard has established a 100-yard safety zone around the vessel. There have been no reports of sheening or pollution near the vessel which is being closely monitored. Approximately 2,500 feet of boom has been deployed around the vessel as a precautionary measure.
The Unified Command is developing an assessment and disposal plan for potential hazardous and non-hazardous waste.
A joint marine casualty investigation with the Coast Guard, the National Transportation Safety Board, RINA Services and the flag state, Panama, is underway.
Inspection records indicate that the Caribbean Fantasy has been cited multiple times for deficiencies related to her engineering spaces, including a six-day detention last month related to unspecified issues with her auxiliary engines; the inspectors also found that the cleanliness of the engine room was "not as required” and that the emergency fire pump was “not properly maintained."
In addition, one week before the grounding, inspectors in Puerto Rico noted problems with fixed fire fighting systems, fire detection systems and ventilation.
In all, records collated by ProPublica show over 100 deficiencies noted by USCG inspectors over the last five years, including missing exhaust lagging, a potential source of ignition, in April 2015; a fuel oil weep on the No. 3 generator in October 2014; fuel oil leaks in two high pressure fuel lines on the port side generator in March 2014; excessive oily water in bilges in 2011; and multiple instances in which fire doors were found to operate improperly.
Media reports and company posts dating from June indicate that the Fantasy had just been fully renovated before the fire.