December 3, 2002
Carnival Corp. today reported in a filing with the Securities and Exchange
Commission that yesterday’s fire on Wind Song, off the coast of Tahaa,
French Polynesia, “appears to have caused a total loss of the vessel.”
The 148-passenger ship, which was fully evacuated, is now being towed to
Papeete, Tahiti. Expected arrival is Tuesday morning, local time. There were
no injuries to passengers or crew.
Sources say the ship has suffered extensive damage, not only from the fire
but also from smoke and water. Passengers have been installed at several
resorts on Tahiti and the company is providing a myriad of services, from
unlimited signing at hotels for food and other items to clothing. Most have
opted to stay on-island until their scheduled departure and Windstar is
picking up the tab.
Passengers were not able to retrieve personal items yesterday (though crew
members were permitted to search cabins for medications) but may be able to
pick up some items when the ship arrives Tuesday.
The cruise line already has announced that Wind Star will relocate to
year-round duty in French Polynesia following the holiday season. Wind Star
has canceled its Belize/Costa Rica itineraries beginning with the January 4
voyage; upon disembarking passengers in Puerto Caldera, the ship will
immediately head west. The non-revenue trip to Wind Star’s new homeport will
take approximately 16 days and the ship is scheduled to sail its first
Polynesian itinerary on January 24.
Windstar will announce further cruise reschedulings -- notably the line’s
2003 Europe fleet is reduced from three vessels to two -- later this week.