One Crewmember Injured in Fire on Cruise Ship in Maine
A fire broke out on a small cruise ship shortly after docking in Portland, Marine this morning, October 18. One crewmember was reportedly seriously injured and transferred to a local hospital with burns, but the injuries are being called non-life threatening.
The cruise ship, the Ocean Navigator (4,954 gross tons) operated by Hornblower Group’s American Queen Voyages, had docked in Portland around 7:00 a.m. arriving from Halifax, Canada at the end of a coastal cruise in Canada. The local fire department said it received reports of smoke coming from the ship at around 7:25 a.m. and dispatched its units. By the time they arrived, the crew was controlling the fire and they assisted in ensuring the fire was out.
People working at the terminal told local reporters that they saw smoke and believed they heard an explosion from within the ship. The cruise line and U.S. Coast Guard are reporting that it was a generator fire and it was contained to the engine room.
There were 128 passengers and 82 crew aboard the ship. The passengers were all evacuated into the terminal and according to city officials have now been moved to a local hotel. None of the passengers were injured.
A Coast Guard prevention and response team reported to the site as well as the ATF, Maine State Fire Marshall, Maine State Fire Investigator, Portland Fire Department, and Customs and Border Patrol. At the last report, teams were working to vent the cruise ship while an investigation was also underway.
The Ocean Navigator was built in 2001 as a modern version of an American coastal cruise ship and was to have been named Cape Cod Light. Her original owners went bankrupt, and she sat idle for years before a series of different operators managed the ship. She is 286 feet in length with accommodations for 202 passengers.
The ship was due to spend tonight in Portland and embark passengers tomorrow for a 10-day cruise to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine before ending in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada on October 27. Passengers for the trip have already arrived in Portland and were due to spend tonight in a hotel before boarding the cruise ship.
Based on the company’s website, the upcoming cruise was her last scheduled trip. Earlier this year, American Queen Voyages announced they would discontinue the operation of the Ocean Navigator and her sister ship Ocean Voyager focusing instead on the company’s river cruises. The sister ship Ocean Voyager is in Halifax today and is due to arrive in Portland on October 20.
The U.S. Coast Guard reported this afternoon that the Ocean Navigator is currently not permitted to sail as there is an ongoing investigation. American Queen Voyages reports they are assessing the damage and local weather conditions to determine if the next cruise will sail as scheduled.