Updated August 29, 2016: Following the fire and evacuation the ship was briefly aground. Divers found very little hull damaged and the ship was towed to San Juan, pier 15 for inspection. Two dogs were killed in the fire.
News sources are reporting a fire on board American Cruise Ferries CARIBBEAN FANTASY. Passengers ordered to abandon ship about one mile from Puerto Rico on a sailing to the Dominican Republic.
512 passengers were reported evacuated from the ship by Coast Guard and with assistance from private vessels.
Social media showed video and stills with black smoke billowing from the ship, one report said the fire started in the engine room and grew gradually out of control.
An inflatable emergency slide is visible in the photograph with an inflatable life rafts against the ship’s hull.
One report has over 100 people being treated, mostly for heat stroke, shock and dehydration, while 24 were reported hospitalized, with one man suffering a broken leg going down the emergency slide.
Details: CARIBBEAN FANTASY 27,362 gt, (ex VICTORY, ex CHIHUAHUA STAR) 1989, length 187m Beam 28 Draught 6.7m, built Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at Kobe, Japan, registered in Panama.
Built for Higashi Nippon Ferry as the VICTORY for service between Muroran and Oarai. Sold in 1998 to Grandi Navi Veloci (Italy) and rebuilt at T. Mariotti, entering service in 1999 for GNV but retained the name VICTORY, sailing on various Mediterranean routes. In late 2007 she was sold to Baja Ferries and became the CHIHUAHUA STAR, entering service on the internal Mexico trade in 2008. In 2011 she was sold to America Cruise Ferries who are owned by the same company which owns Baja Ferries. Renamed the CARIBBEAN FANTASY.
Special thanks to Kalle Id and Fakta om Fartyg.
MARTIN COX - Founder and publisher of MaritimeMatters, inspired by maritime culture and technology growing up in the port of Southampton. He works as a photographer in Los Angeles, and his works has been exhibited in LA, San Francisco, New York, London and Iceland.Martin is the co-writer of the book “Hollywood to Honolulu; the story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company” published by the Steam Ship Historical Society of America. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum has commissioned artworks and collected his photographs.
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