Update: Norwegian Epic Fire Could be Deliberate, Says Yard

May 8, 2010

(5 p.m. EDT) -- Following the fire onboard NCL's new Norwegian Epic last week in the shipyard, an investigation has now been launched into whether the blaze was started deliberately.

In a statement, the shipyard -- STX France -- said that French authorities are looking into how the fire was started at its St. Nazaire shipyard on Monday night.

The statement (which was translated from French by STX France for Cruise Critic) said: "At the conclusion from the firefighters and the CID [Criminal Investigation Department], a French prosecutor made a decision to design an expert and to launch a police investigation.

"It appeared that ... some findings could indicate that the fire might have been started deliberately," such as "non activation" of an automatic fire extinguishing system and the fact there was no work being done at the time likely to cause a fire.

STX France has also said that it plans to repair the damages to Norwegian Epic's provisioning areas on Deck 4 of the ship by the end of May to early June. Norwegian Epic is due to be handed over to NCL on June 15, and at this point, STX France says its "main objective" is to deliver the ship on time.

NCL has told Cruise Critic that the delivery date remains unchanged.

We'll keep you posted.

--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor