Explosion in cruise ship engine room sparks mass evacuation with one crew member burned

An explosion on a cruise ship docked in Maine has left one crew member burned and led to the evacuation of more than 200 people onboard.

Firefighters responded to a call just before 7.30am on Wednesday to the Ocean Navigator, a five-deck cruise ship owned by American Queen Voyages, after reports of smoke coming from the engine room, a spokesperson for the city of Portland said in a press release.

“Additional crews were simultaneously able to stabilise the engine room issue and remained on scene to assist with extensive ventilation efforts and complete overhaul to prevent any further issues,” the city of Portland said.

The ship was docked at a pier in Portland, Maine, where the city’s fire department received reports that a possible explosion broke out inside an engine room, suggesting it could be linked to a generator on the ship.

A crew member onboard the Ocean Navigator had been burned, potentially by the generator fire, and was taken to a nearby hospital.

Officials said the crew member was seriously injured, but their injuries were not life-threatening.

The crew member is currently thought to be the only person injured in the fire, according to Portland officials and the US Coast Guard, CBS reports.

The ship evacuated all 128 passengers and 82 crew members off the ship, who are all currently housed at a local hotel.

By 7.44am, the fire was back under control, but the crew was in the process of ventilating and cleaning all the smoke from the cruise so officials could conduct an investigation, the city of Portland said.

Coast Guard Leuitenant Commander Ryan Koroknay spoke to The Sun Journal and said the explosion and fire had damaged equipment in the engine room.

(WMTW)

“We don’t know what’s operational. A determination still has to be made on how and when the ship will be able to leave. It’s hard to tell,” Mr Koroknay said.

The US Coast Guard is now trying to figure out if the ship is “seaworthy” enough to continue its cruise by conducting an investigation, which will also try to source why the generator exploded, according to the outlet.

Passengers and crew could be seen waiting in a nearby terminal and have now been transported to hotels while they wait to hear what will happen to the ship, WMTW reported.

According to CruiseMapper, the ship embarked on its journey on 10 October from Montreal in Canada and cruised around the Canadian coast before it reached Portland in Maine.

The ship was due to arrive in Boston on Thursday, said the website.

In a statement to The Independent, an American Queen Voyages spokesperson also confirmed that their crew member sustained injuries and is currently being treated in hospital.

However, they also stated that they have cancelled the remainder of the trip on the Ocean Navigator.

“American Queen Voyages has made the difficult decision to cancel our Oct. 19 sailing from Portland to St. John due to a combination of the recent mechanical issues caused by the generator fire from the previous sailing as well as the adverse weather conditions forecasted for the upcoming weekend,” the spokesperson said.

“We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause our passengers, and we want to emphasize that this decision was not made lightly. The safety and security of our guests and dedicated crew is our top priority, and after careful consideration and evaluation of various factors by our Captain, it has been determined that it is unsafe for us to embark on this journey. We remain dedicated in continuing to provide safe, enjoyable and memorable experiences for our guests as well as our Crew.”

The Independent has contacted US Coast Guard for comment.

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