Safety board: Loose engine bolts led to Carnival Liberty fire

Image result for carnival liberty
Carnival Liberty

The National Transportation Safety Board issued a final report on the September 2015 fire aboard the Carnival Liberty, pinning the blame on engine bolts that had been insufficiently tightened.

The fire occurred while the Carnival Cruise Line ship was docked in Charlotte Amalie in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sept. 7. It led to a precautionary evacuation of the ship.

In its report, the board said it found loose bolts on a flange that held a fuel intake line to one of the diesel generators, probably because of improper tightening during maintenance and pipe vibration over time. That triggered an uncontrolled fuel spray from the connection onto a hot part of the engine.

Because the ship was in port and many passengers were ashore, there was confusion in tracking how many people were evacuated.

The report recommends that Carnival better train the crew in the use of the water-based fire extinguishing gear in the engine room. It also said Carnival should establish or improve its procedures for accounting for persons aboard in a mass evacuation in port.

Advertisements

U.S. senator calls for probe of storm damage to Anthem of the Seas

MIAMI (AP) — Federal transportation officials might soon be looking into a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that ran into high winds and rough seas in the Atlantic Ocean over the weekend.

Sen. Bill Nelson has called for the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the voyage that forced frightened passengers into their cabins overnight Sunday as their belongings flew about, waves rose as high as 30 feet, and winds howled outside.

“The thing about this storm was that it was forecast for days. So why in the world would a cruise ship with thousands of passengers go sailing right into it?” Nelson said Monday on the Senate floor, according to a news release from his office.

The National Weather Service’s Ocean Prediction Center had issued an alert for a strong storm four days in advance, Susan Buchanan with the weather service said. The first warning was issued Saturday for possible hurricane-force winds in the area the ship was scheduled to sail through.

Royal Caribbean announced Monday that the ship was turning around and sailing back to its home port in New Jersey. No injuries were reported, and the ship suffered only minor damage.

“I was shaking all over,” passenger Shara Strand of New York City wrote to The Associated Press via Facebook on Monday. “Panic attack, things like that. … I’ve been on over 20 cruises, I’ve been through a hurricane, it was never like this. Never.”

Sixteen-year-old Gabriella Lairson says she and her father, Sam, could feel the ship, Anthem of the Seas, begin to sway by 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The captain directed passengers to their cabins. There, the Lairsons heard glasses shatter in the bathroom, and they put their belongings in drawers and closets to prevent them from flying across the room. They ventured to the balcony, where Sam Lairson shot video of wave after wave rising below.

“The winds were so strong that I thought the phone would blow from my hands,” Sam Lairson, of Ocean City, New Jersey, said in an email. “After that we had to keep the doors to the balconies sealed.”

The ship — with more than 4,500 guests and 1,600 crew members — sailed Saturday from Cape Liberty, New Jersey. It was scheduled to arrive for a stop at Port Canaveral, Florida, at noon Monday, then move on to other stops in the Caribbean. But Royal Caribbean said on its corporate Twitter account that the ship would turn around and sail back to Cape Liberty.

“This decision was made for guests’ comfort due to weather forecasts” that would continue to affect the ship’s itinerary,” Royal Caribbean tweeted.

Guests will get a full refund and a certificate toward a future cruise. Passengers onboard buzzed happily about that news, Strand said.

Gabriella Lairson said that by early Monday morning, people were out and about on the ship, checking out the minor damage in some public areas.

Lairson praised the crew and captain. “They did everything they could to make us feel comfortable,” she wrote to the AP on Facebook. She said she and her father were a little disappointed the ship was turning around, but she called it “the best thing for the safety of everyone.”

Fellow passenger Jacob Ibrag agreed. “I can’t wait to get home and kiss the ground,” said Ibrag, who saw water flowing down stairs and helped some people who were stuck in an elevator Sunday as he made his way to his cabin per the captain’s orders. The 25-year-old from Queens, New York, then stayed in his cabin until noon Monday, at one point filling his backpack with essentials in case of an evacuation.

Robert Huschka, the executive editor of the Detroit Free Press, was onboard and started tweeting when the inclement weather hit. He told USA Today that the ordeal was “truly terrifying.” He described the cruise director nervously giving updates, and he later posted photos of shattered glass panels on a pool deck.

But Huschka was among passengers who found a silver lining in the storm. On Monday, he posted: “The good news? They never lost the Super Bowl signal. Perfect TV picture throughout storm!”

Royal Caribbean gave guests free Internet access and a complimentary cocktail hour, spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said in an email. “Feeling better after the happy hour they just put on for the guests,” Sam Lairson joked.

And despite her own worries, Strand said her daughter, 8-month-old Alexa, slept through the entire episode.

Dreamliner probe could take weeks

Dreamliner probe could take weeks

By Phil Davies

Dreamliner probe could take weeksIt may take “weeks” to complete an investigation into battery problems that hit two Boeing 787 Dreamliners, according to the US National Transportation Safety Board.

A battery on a Japan Airlines 787 caught fire, while a malfunction forced an All Nippon Airways Dreamliner to make an emergency landing last month.

The incidents led to the grounding all 50 of the 787s in use. The NTSB said that the battery being used in the 787s may not necessarily be unsafe.

NTSB head Deborah Hersman said: “I would not want to categorically say that these batteries are not safe.

“Any new technology, any new design, there are going to be some inherent risks. The important thing is to mitigate them.”

She added that the NTSB was “running through the macro level to the microscopic level on this battery”. “But I think we are probably weeks away from being able to tell people here’s what exactly happened and what needs to change.”

A Boeing spokesman told the BBC the firm was “choosing not to comment on Ms Hersman’s remarks as the matter was under active investigation”.

Meanwhile, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said problems with the 787 had done nothing to alter the airline’s orders and options for 50 Dreamliners.

He told broadcaster ABC in Australia: “We believe that Boeing are a great airline manufacturing company, they’re a great engineering company and they will fix this problem eventually.

“They’re still producing the aircraft, so the production line hasn’t stopped. They have stopped delivering aircraft to customers.

“Our aircraft are due to arrive, the first one in August. We haven’t been advised of any delay at this stage.”