May 28 Photo Brief: Fire on Grandeur of the Seas, baby rescued from sewage pipe, France’s first victim of Coronavirus dies

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Fire on Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship, baby rescued from sewage pipe in China, France’s first victim of Coronavirus dies and more in today’s daily brief. ATTENTION: VISUAL COVERAGE OF INJURY SCENES

Cruise canceled after fire aboard Royal Caribbean ship
By John-John Williams IV, The Baltimore Sun
9:50 p.m. EDT, May 27, 2013

Bang Warren dismissed the pounding on her cabin door early Monday morning as “children playing a prank.” Then a horn blared and she heard people running through the halls of the Grandeur of the Seas

A fire had broken out in the early morning hours aboard the Royal Caribbean International cruise ship that sailed from Baltimore for the Bahamas on Friday.

“Crew members told us to get our life vest on,” recalled Warren, a White Marsh resident. “We asked if we could throw on clothes real quick. They told us we didn’t have enough time for that.”

The ship was 35 nautical miles northwest of West End, Bahamas, according to the Coast Guard, which dispatched three cutters and two aircraft to aid the ship. All 2,224 passengers and 796 crew have been accounted for, and no injuries have been reported, the company said in a statement.

The fire started at 2:50 a.m. in an aft mooring area — where the lines that tie the ship to shore are stowed — and was extinguished at 4:58 a.m., said Cynthia Martinez, a spokeswoman for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Martinez did not disclose the cause of the fire.

The Coast Guard said the fire spread to a crew lounge a deck above the mooring area. The fire will be investigated by the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board.

The ship, bound for CoCoCay, Bahamas, was diverted to Freeport, Bahamas, for evaluation.

After assessing the damage, Royal Caribbean announced late Monday afternoon that it cancelled the remainder of the voyage. The company said it would issue full refunds to each passenger and arrange flights for all of them back to Baltimore on Tuesday. Each passenger also would receive a certificate for a future cruise.

The company also announced it was canceling the next cruise on the ship, which was set to sail from Baltimore on May 31. It said it would provide an update regarding future sailings “as soon as the information is available.”

After being roused from her cabin, a shoeless Warren ran to the assembly area where she was told lifeboats were being readied in case the ship needed to be evacuated.

“It was very surreal,” said Warren, who estimated she waited on deck with other guests for more than four hours before being allowed to return to her cabin. “The frightening part was when they started lowering the life boats. A lot of people were passing out with fear. The crew was running up and down the deck with oxygen. I know some children were vomiting. A lot of very young children were crying.”

The passengers and crew were called to assembly stations as a precaution before the fire was extinguished, Royal Caribbean said on its website.

“The guests were asked to go to their muster or assembly stations, which is the area where they assemble in the event of an emergency,” Martinez wrote in an email to The Baltimore Sun. “They did not board lifeboats.”

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