Fire Engulfs Engine Room on Azamara Cruise Ship Near Malaysia
An Azamara cruise ship has docked in Malaysia’s port of Sandakan on Borneo after being left adrift at sea for 24 hours following a fire and repairs.
The Azamara Quest suffered a fire in one of the ship’s engine rooms on Friday, just a day after leaving Manila for Malaysia. The ship was carrying 1,001 passengers – mainly tourists from America and Europe, as well as crewmembers. The ship’s operator, Azamara Club Cruises, reported that no passengers were injured, but five members of the crew suffered smoke inhalation.
Upon entering Malaysian waters on Sunday, the luxury liner was escorted to the port by a Malaysian patrol boat. Police and alternative transportation were waiting on the passengers’ arrival to take them to numerous hotels.
The cruise company has cancelled the remainder of the ship’s voyage and will fly the passengers home, in addition to providing a refund. The United States and British embassies have sent their consular teams to the Sandakan port for assistance to their citizens.
The Royal Caribbean owned ship had the fire extinguished rapidly, and the power was restored to one of the engines by Saturday night. Of the five injured crew, one member is currently in serious, but improving condition. According to BBC, the Azamara Quest had been 75 nautical miles southwest of the Philippines' Tubbataha Reef when the Philippine coastguard heard of the incident.
Passengers recall that dinner was being served as the fire broke out. They remember seeing an oil-covered engineer running through the dining area, as smoke started to pour in. Immediately following, all passengers were evacuated and handed life jackets. The captain reported to the bridge. Passengers of the fire-damaged luxury cruise ship praised the captain and crew for keeping order and bringing them safely ashore.
Azamara Quest departing from Split, Croatia - Nov 13 2011.