May 4, 2001
It’s been three years since the dramatic -- and network television-captured -- fire on Carnival’s Ecstasy and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has just released its verdict. The culprit? Unauthorized welding in the main laundry area ignited lint in the ventilation system. Apparently, Carnival had not cleaned out (well, often enough, anyway) laundry exhaust ducts, which added, ahem, fuel to the fire. No one was killed, despite all the media hoopla, though 14 crew members and eight passengers reportedly suffered minor injuries. The NTSB also released a list of recommendations -- some geared to Carnival, others aimed at all cruise lines -- to prevent a deja vu occurrence. These range from additional exercises in the Coast Guard’s safety drill (the Coast Guard inspects every ship that calls at a U.S. port regardless of it’s home-of-origin) to installing smoke detectors and fire suppression systems on ships with similar mooring deck designs as Ecstasy. Carnival has already implemented some of the suggestions. According to a spokesperson: "Based on our own analysis of the incident, we have already implemented a number of the Board's recommendations; others we are in the process of studying and evaluating. For the remaining few, they will undergo a complete review by our various technical, safety and operations groups and will receive the company's full attention."