A fire broke out onboard one of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships, rendering it entirely disabled.
The Sea Dream I, built in 1984 and operated by SeaDream Yacht Club, caught fire on September 1 around 2am, according to local media and passengers’ reports.
The fire broke out in the ship’s engine room while the ship was off the coast of Calabria in southern Italy, in the Tyrrhenian sea between Amalfi and Palinuro. The cruise began in Dubrovnik, with the incident occurring towards the end of the scheduled itinerary.
All 105 passengers and 61 crew members were unharmed, with passengers and non-essential crew taken off the ship by the Coast Guard, transferring them to the high-speed ferry Isola di Vulcano and taken to Naples. With the fire extinguished early and no immediate danger reported, they weren’t evacuated until the afternoon, about 12 hours after the fire.
Passengers appeared calm and could be seen photographing the disabled ship as they were transferred. They were met by buses on-shore and travelled on to Rome, the final scheduled disembarkation point of their ill-fated cruise. SeaDream furnished all passengers with accommodation, meals and even activities until their disembarkation date.
The cause of the fire has been identified as a failure by one of the generators, which started smoking until thick smoke and flames engulfed the entire engine compartment. The crew overcame the fire within a few minutes, using CO2-based firefighting equipment, but both the generator and the main engine sustained enough damage that the propulsion system of the ship became inoperative.
The 4,333-gross-tonne Sea Dream I was towed by tugboat to Naples, where the engineering compartment has been ventilated and all damage assessed by local authorities to determine seaworthiness as well as the cause of the blaze.
Sea Dream I was due to set sail on her next journey from Rome on September 3, however that sailing has been cancelled as investigations into the fire continue; the cruise line issued a brief statement that said “marine and technical staff are currently evaluating necessary repairs.”