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Faulty safety equipment can compromise employee safety. Safety of passengers can also be sacrificed when malfunctioning equipment is on a location hosting thousands of travelers. Following an engine fire aboard a cruise ship in February and several other ships experiencing other problems recently, Carnival has launched an investigation into its fleet.
The Carnival Triumph suffered an engine room fire February 10 and left the ship stranded for days in the Gulf of Mexico before it was pulled by tugboats. CNN reported the Triumph, carrying more than 4,200 people, was transported to an Alabama port. The engine fire had devastating consequences as it cut electricity to most of the ship and left passengers with scarce supplies of food and water as well as no power, air conditioning, heat or working restrooms.
Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill said the Triumph has two separate engine rooms but both engine rooms suffered damages in the fire that left them unusable. He also said the fire was caused by a leak in a fuel return line.
"Unfortunately, damage from the fire caused both engine rooms to be knocked out of commission," he said during a State of the Industry panel. "At that point in time the emergency diesel generator kicked in and that provided power for the emergency facilities until we returned the ship to Mobile, Alabama."
According to CNN, the Carnival Dream ship lost power March 13 while it was docked at port in Philipsburg, St. Maarten in the eastern Caribbean. In addition to the lost power, some passengers reported the toilets stopped working.
A failure of the ship's emergency diesel generator caused the loss of power. As a result, the next trip scheduled on the Dream was canceled. The company is also working to fly the more than 4,000 passengers back to Florida where the ship departed.
Another Carnival ship was escorted by tugboat March 9 when a malfunction in the ship's steering system caused staff to essentially lose the ability to steer the boat, CNN said.
Cruise line company is investigating prevention options
Cahill said the company was launching an investigation into its entire fleet to address the safety equipment issues, Reuters reported. He said the review will focus on the prevention, detection and suppression of fires and other engine room incidents.
Carnival will also look into running hotel facilities off of emergency generators so any future incidents do not result in the the situations passengers have been left to face in recent months, according to Reuters.
As an employer, it is a company's responsibility to keep workers safe and to educate them on the dangers of working in potentially dangerous situations. Combustible gas detectors and flame detector sensors can alert personnel working in an engine room if a hazardous situation is present.
Industrial Safety News brought to you by Safety Systems Technology, Inc., leaders in fire and gas detection systems.