U.S. Coast Guard, NTSB Investigating Deadly Cruise Ship Fire

MS Insignia file photo
MS Insignia file photo

The U.S. Coast Guard has assembled a joint investigative team with the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate a deadly fire Thursday aboard Oceania Cruises ‘Insignia’ cruise ship in St. Lucia.

As gCaptain reported previously, the fire broke out in the ship’s engine room Thursday morning whiled berthed at Port Castries in St. Lucia. Three people, including two contractors and one crewmember, died as a result of the fire and two others were also injured. None of the 656 guests onboard were injured and everyone safely disembarked the vessel in St. Lucia.

The fire was believed to be contained to the engine room.

An update from the Coast Guard on Friday said that the investigative team will send four marine safety professionals from Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico and the Cruise Ship and Investigation National Centers of Expertise to investigate the fire. The Coast Guard and the NTSB are also participating with Insignia’s flag state, Marshall Islands, to conduct a safety investigation of the casualty.

The Coast Guard said it was accepted by Marshall Islands as a “substantially interested state” under international procedures for investigating marine accidents, because the vessel transits to and from U.S. ports and had many U.S. passengers onboard.

Insignia was on a 10-day cruise which departed San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 7 and was scheduled to arrive in Miami December 17.

The vessel is operated by Miami-based Oceania Cruises, a subsidiary of Norwegian Cruise Lines.