U.S. authorities have downsized their response to the Caribbean Fantasy passenger ferry as the operation shifts from emergency response to long term management, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday, one week after the ferry caught fire off Puerto Rico.
The Caribbean Fantasy is currently moored at a pier in San Juan Harbor. The fire on board was extinguished last Saturday.
The Coast Guard said Wednesday that response is transitioning to long term project management, a phase will will consist of the continuing joint marine casualty investigation, hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal, damage and stability assessment, and survey and removal of cargo. All non-essential personnel are being demobilized as the transition occurs.
The Caribbean Fantasy caught fire last Wednesday approximately 2 nautical miles north of San Juan Harbor in Puerto Rico leading to the evacuation of all 511 passengers and crew. The ferry later ran aground just offshore Punta Salinas, where the fire continued to burn inside the ship’s engine room. The ferry floated free Friday (Aug 19) night and was moved to San Juan on Saturday.
The joint marine casualty investigation includes the Coast Guard, the National Transportation Safety Board, RINA Services and the flag state, Panama.
The responding salvage company is developing a heavy weather mooring plan for the vessel.
Agencies that assisted with the Caribbean Fantasy Response include American Cruise Ferries, Ardent, Baja Ferries, the Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Response Corporation, O’Brien’s Response Management, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency, the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, the Puerto Rico Fire Department and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are to inspect vehicles and cargo prior to release.