June 5, 2001
Oddly, just about the time last week when U.S. Coast Guard officials were swarming Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norway to check out a tip that the ship’s fire protection system was seriously defective, another cruise ship was worried about the same thing. But call it a Textbook 101 handling: a crew member on Holland America’s Zaandam, en route to Ketchikan, noticed a sprinkler head missing from a -- note a, meaning one -- passenger cabin. Further investigation revealed that a branch of the sprinkler irrigation, which served a handful of passenger cabins, was not connected to the main water supply line. He notified his supervisors, who notified the Coast Guard while, in the meantime, the problem was fixed. A Coast Guard inspector came on board in Ketchikan and verified the repair -- while Zaandam, and her passengers, lost nary a minute of their cruise. And while both the Coast Guard and Holland America think the defect is an isolated one, the line’s asked all ships in the HAL fleet to reexamine their systems, just in case.