Ferry Fire – Hundreds Plucked From Burning Puerto Rico Ferry

Caribbean Fantasy Fire San Juan Puerto Rico
Caribbean Fantasy Fire. Photo via Policia Puerto Rico

The Coast Guard responded Wednesday morning to a fire aboard the 561-foot passenger/cargo vessel Caribbean Fantasy, approximately 2 nautical miles north of San Juan Harbor in Puerto Rico.

The vessel later ran about half a nautical mile offshore of Punta Salinas.

All 511 passengers and crew were evacuated and taken to Pier 6 in San Juan port. 

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At approximately 7:42 a.m., Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a report of a fire aboard a Panamanian-flagged passenger/cargo ship carrying 512 passengers, including crew en route to Dominican Republic. The number of people on board was later determined to be 511. 

There are no reports of injuries at this time.

The Coast Guard said the ship grounded at approximately 10:21 a.m. The Coast Guard has established a 1,000-yard safety zone around the vessel. There were no reports of sheening or pollution around the vessel.  

The fire reportedly began in the engine room of the ship and spread to other compartments on board. 

Multiple air and surface crews responded Wednesday including two Coast Guard 33-foot Special Purpose Craft crews and one 45-foot Response Boat Medium crews out of Coast Guard Station San Juan. Also on-scene was the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos and a small boat from the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley. Additional assets were diverted to assist, including the Puerto Rico Joint Forces of Action (FURA), fire, pilot and tug boats from the port.

According to Equasis the Caribbean Fantasy the 187.13 meter (614 ft) ship was built in 1989, is classified by Bureau Veritas and is registered in Panama. The vessel is operated by America Cruise Ferries which offers three weekly sailings from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Santo Domingo / Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

A Unified Command comprised of federal, state and industry agencies and organizations has been established at Coast Guard Sector San Juan to manage the incident and salvage efforts of the Caribbean Fantasy.

Incident Photos

Caribbean Fantasy Fire
American Cruise Ferry passenger ship Caribbean Fantasy on fire. Image via USCG

san-jusan-ferry-view from stern

USCG Puerto Rico Ferry Rescue

A local San Juan, Puerto Rico-based tug crew use a fire hose to cool the hull of the 561-foot Caribbean Fantasy ferry vessel that caught fire earlier a mile from San Juan Harbor, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. The Caribbean Fantasy's engine room caught fire, which began to spread to other compartments forcing passengers and crew to abandon the ferry vessel. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station San Juan, Puerto Rico.
A local San Juan, Puerto Rico-based tug crew use a fire hose to cool the hull of the 561-foot Caribbean Fantasy ferry vessel that caught fire earlier a mile from San Juan Harbor, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard Photo
Passengers aboard the 561-foot Caribbean Fantasy ferry vessel use the marine escape system to awaiting lift rafts as they abandon the vessel a mile from San Juan Harbor, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. The Caribbean Fantasy had a fire start in the engine room that spread to other compartments forcing passengers and crew to abandon the vessel. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station San Juan, Puerto Rico.
U.S. Coast Guard Photo
U.S. Coast Guard Photo
U.S. Coast Guard Photo

Incident Video