Freedom of the Seas captain Ron Holmes addressed his passengers over the ship’s CCTV following last week’s fire on board the ship as it arrived in Falmouth, Jamaica, providing guests with details describing exactly what happened and the actions that he and his crew took to ensure passenger safety.
In the video, Captain Holmes said that the fire started in the ship’s “engine spaces” and spread from the engine room to deck 15 via the exhaust stack, forcing crews to fight the fire in two places. All the while and out of extreme precaution, the Captain said he had everyone go to their emergency stations for a head count and if it was determined that an evacuation was required – which it was not. The fire was fully extinguished within about and hour, the Captain added.
Have a listen to his message:
This video caught my attention for two reasons. First, I think it’s awesome that Captain Holmes addressed his passengers honestly and directly about the situation, not giving them some fluffy corporate statement about something people don’t need to worry about. If I were a cruiser – I’m not – this is exactly what I would want see out of my captain.
Second, the video is getting a lot of attention because some say it contradicts the information Royal Caribbean has revealed about the incident. According to the website Cruise Law News, the Captain’s version of events is in stark contrast to what Royal Caribbean disclosed to the media about the incident and also a ‘misleading’ letter sent by Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley to employees saying the fire was contained to the ship’s mechanical spaces and extinguished quickly. The website even has photos and video showing flames shooting out of the top of the ship near the stack.
In a statement to the media following the incident, Royal Caribbean said that on July 22, Freedom of the Seas “experienced a fire in a mechanical space as the ship was pulling into Falmouth, Jamaica. The ship’s fire suppression system was immediately activated, which contained and extinguished the fire.”
“In an abundance of caution, the Captain mustered all guests at their assembly stations. The ship is currently alongside in Falmouth and all systems are functioning,” the company added.
Freedom of the Seas was on a seven-night cruise out of Cape Canaveral, Florida to the Caribbean when the incident occurred.
One crew member sustained first-degree burns in the fire.