Shipyard Fire Damages Holland America’s Westerdam

October 19, 2003
A fire at Fincantieri’s Marghera (Venice) shipyard has damaged Holland America’s still-under-construction Westerdam.

The fire broke out on Friday morning about 8 a.m. from a passenger cabin on deck seven. Before it was extinguished some three hours later, the blaze had spread to decks eight and nine. According to an internal letter to employees from Holland America president Kirk Lanterman, "the fire appears to have started in the aft part of the ship on deck 7 and then spread upwards to the Lido/Magradome area before being put out with the assistance of fireboats and shore side firefighters." There were no injuries and the cause has not yet been announced.

In that same letter, Lanterman reports that "a team of experts is aboard the ship now and additional specialists are en route to the shipyard. We are meeting with all relevant contractors and suppliers and have directed them to proceed with the procurement and construction of all materials necessary for repairing any damage and completing construction of the Westerdam."

Fincantieri has released a statement saying construction of the ship, slated for April 15 delivery, will remain on schedule. According to Holland America’s web site, it is still slated to debut with its inaugural, a 12-night roundtrip from Venice that departs on April 25. The 82,000-ton, 1,848-passenger Westerdam is the third in Holland America’s Vista class of ships.

This is the second fire this year to have broken out in a Fincantieri shipyard. In April, Costa Cruises’ 105,000-ton, 2,720-passenger CostaFortuna, under construction at the company’s yard in Genoa, also suffered a fire though it was contained quickly. At that time the shipbuilder said the fire would not impact on time delivery for CostaFortuna and, indeed, the ship is slated to launch, as scheduled, in November.