NCL Fined $1 Million After Explosion

May 22, 2008
A judge ordered Norwegian Cruise Line to pay a fine of $1 million (£500,000) for an explosion that killed eight crewmembers back in 2003, according to the Associated Press; on Wednesday, the Miami-based line pleaded guilty to gross negligence in the incident.

NCL was also ordered to pay more than $13 million to the eight crewmembers killed and 10 injured by the boiler explosion on the now defunct Norway, which occurred in Miami on May 25, 2003 -- almost five years ago to the day.

No passengers were injured in the explosion.

An official statement from the cruise line reads: "The court ordered amount of restitution [$13.75 million] formalizes the funds already paid, in full, by the company three years ago to those involved. We are hopeful that resolution of the recent misdemeanor charge will bring this unfortunate incident to a conclusion." The $1 million government fine will be paid in near future to the Clerk of the U.S. Court, according to a cruise line spokeswoman.

SS Norway began life in 1962 as French Line's France before joining NCL in 1980. At 1,035 feet, the ship was once the world's longest passenger vessel, but after that fateful day in 2003, things began to take a turn for the worse.

NCL announced in 2004 that the ship wouldn't return to the fleet, and it was towed to Malaysia to the home of parent company Star Cruises. Renamed Blue Lady, the ship was eventually sold to an Indian scrap merchant, and last year it began being dismantled.

The Sun-Sentinel reports that a follow-up hearing will be held in June to consider additional restitution issues.

--by Kelly Ranson, Associate Editor