Safety Issues Cause Temporary Seabourn Pride Delay

September 12, 2005

Seabourn Pride was impounded last weekend at the Irish port of Waterford as a result of safety-related issues in the ship's engine room. In a report in The Times of London, headlined "cruise ship 'unsafe,'" Ireland's Maritime Safety Directorate (MSD) is quoted as saying that the engine room was "in an awful state."

Since the ship was detained, the 170 passengers onboard missed a scheduled call to Dublin though ship shore staffers did arrange an trip by land to that city. Seabourn Pride was permitted to depart on Saturday; it's currently sailing an 18-night Atlantic repositioning trip that will bring the ship back to the U.S.

The problem, says Seabourn's President Deborah Natansohn, is that "some of the piping that leads out of the engine was constricted and caused a small leakage of oil that resulted in excess of the bilges."

The ship had been inspected just prior to its Waterford call in Falmouth, U.K., where marine experts pointed out the problem -- and said, according to Natansohn, that the ship could have a few weeks to repair it. Word spread to Waterford, however, and the MSD decided to hold the ship until the problem was solved. Seabourn then flew in a team of expert technicians to make the fix.

"We take this very seriously," Natansohn told Cruise Critic. "Internal inspections and external inspections by flagged states -- like Ireland -- are welcomed by Seabourn." Worst case scenario, she noted (also emphasizing that the ship's problem wasn't anywhere near that serious), was that the constricted pipes and resulting leakage could be a fire hazard.

Seabourn Pride was most recently inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard, perhaps the most stringent of "flagged" tests, in March and passed with nary a mention of what plagued the ship last week.

The cruise line has also issued directives to captains of its twin siblings -- Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend -- to comprehensively examine the same issue.
In the meantime, folks onboard were offered an overnight trip, via motorcoach, to Dublin where they were booked into the ultra-luxe Berkeley Court Hotel. Passengers were greeted by a red carpet -- and the all-expense-paid diversion included meals, entertainment and a Seabourn turndown service. Folks who stayed onboard were offered complimentary tours of Waterford.

Because of schedule constraints, the ship also skipped the port of Isle of Wight; all passengers were given $200 in onboard credit.

Seabourn Pride is on schedule to arrive in New York on Thursday.