Update: Pullmantur Cruise Ship Back to Sea After Fire

August 19, 2009
Pullmantur Zenith Update, 12:50 p.m. EDT: A spokesperson for Pullmantur confirms today that the fire was sparked by welders performing maintenance work. About 200 passengers were onboard at the time (others were sightseeing in Stockholm) and were, as we reported yesterday, evacuated safely.

Zenith set sail from Stockholm at 5 a.m. local time today, some 11 hours late. Because of the delay, the ship will skip today's call in Tallinn and head straight to St. Petersburg. We're told passengers will be compensated for the missed call, though specifics were not shared.

The two crewmembers admitted to the hospital yesterday for smoke inhalation were discharged today.

(August 18, 2:20 p.m. EDT) -- The fire that broke out earlier today onboard Pullmantur Cruises' 47,255-ton, 1,440-passenger Zenith in Stockholm was extinguished by the ship's company and the Stockholm fire brigade by 4 p.m. local time, according to cruisebusiness.com. The emergency call was received at 2:37 p.m. local time.

Camilla Strumpel, a spokeswoman for the port of Stockholm, tells us that all passengers are now back onboard, but that the ship will not depart tonight as scheduled. Tomorrow morning is the earliest a decision to leave will be made, Strumpel says. (The ship is supposed to call on Tallinn tomorrow.)

Though Web site earthtimes.org reports via German Press Agency dpa that the fire broke out during welding work, Strumpel says she has not yet gotten an official report on the cause of the blaze from the local fire department onboard the ship. Earlier today, cruisebusiness.com reported via Swedish paper Aftonbladet that two people were taken to the hospital after smoke inhalation; it is estimated some 600 people were onboard at the time the fire broke out.

We have still not received a statement from Pullmantur Cruises about the fire or information on what impact it may have on the rest of the current Baltic itinerary.

Zenith formerly sailed for Celebrity Cruises; it was built for the line in 1992. Zenith left Celebrity in 2007 following Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s acquisition of Pullmantur, and joined the Spanish line's fleet after a major refurbishment.

Stay tuned.

--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor

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Swedish Reports: Fire on Pullmantur Cruise Ship in Stockholm