Fire on Rhine River Cruise Forces Evacuation

June 17, 2012

(4:00 p.m. EDT) -- A ship fire broke out onboard CroisiEurope's MS Gerard Schmitter river cruise ship on Saturday, 16 June, according to reports.

The ship was preparing to dock around 9:00 p.m. local time Saturday evening in the German port of Krefeld, when a cable caught fire in a technical room of the ship's engine department, producing heavy, billowing smoke, according to a report in the cruise trade publication Seatrade Insider.

Two response groups from the fire brigade for the city of Krefeld, which lies northwest of Dusseldorf on the Rhine, were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, said the report. And passengers, who had been evacuated to a nearby restaurant and two waiting buses, were allowed to reboard the vessel shortly after operations completed at 10:30 p.m.

There were no serious injuries among the 154 passengers and 34 crew onboard, although a German police spokesman reported that one woman, being treated for shock, required a hospital visit, and that one crewmember sustained minor injuries during the ship's evacuation.

Reportedly, the ship will remain in Krefeld until Monday, although it is as yet unclear whether the ship's French owners will continue the cruise. Cruise Critic is awaiting a response from the line and will update this story with any further details.

MS Gerard Schmitter is on an Amsterdam to Strasbourg Rhine river cruise. The 176-passenger, 88-cabin vessel was launched in April of this year.

--Jamey Bergman, Content Editor, Cruise Critic U.K.