Photos: Burning Ferry Runs Aground, Hundreds Rescued
On Wednesday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard and local police evacuated 512 passengers and crew from the American Cruise Ferries ro/pax Caribbean Fantasy, which caught fire about two nm off of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Rescued passengers were transported to San Juan Harbor’s Pier 6, where local first responders staged medical equipment to meet them.
No injuries were immediately reported.
The USCG said that the ship drifted following the fire and ran aground some 800 yards off of Punta Salinas, just west of San Juan.
Trackline image courtesy Marine Traffic
The USCG said in a statement that three small boat crews out of Coast Guard Station San Juan, the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos and a small boat from the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley were on scene for the response. As of 12:30 PM EDT, AIS data showed that the Fantasy was also attended by the tugs Diane Moran, Triton and Honcho.
The fire, which was reported at 0740 EDT, "began in the engine room of the ship and is spreading to other compartments on board," the Coast Guard said.
Records from the Equasis database indicate that the 1989-built, Panamanian-flagged Caribbean Star (ex name Victory) has a history of deficiencies, including a six-day detention in July for substandard engine room cleanliness and an unspecified problem with her auxiliary engines. It was her second detention in a year.
The Fantasy is operator America Cruise Ferries’ sole ship. She was underway on her regular run from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to San Juan at the time of the fire.
Local media reported that the passengers were mostly Dominican nationals, including a large group of students headed to athletic competitions in Puerto Rico.