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NBC has reported that on Wednesday of this week, a cruise ship carrying more than 500 passengers on their way from the Dominican Republic burst into flames following what preliminary investigations suggest might have been a mechanical problem. The Caribbean Fantasy, a cruise and ferry ship, erupted into flames near the Northern coast of Puerto Rico, leading to a major rescue effort that lasted for more than five hours.

Speaking to members of the press right after the cruise ship accident, Mr. Angel Crespo, the director of the Emergency Management Agency in Puerto Rico, confirmed the incident and further stated that federal authorities were already questioning the captain of the cruise ship to try to establish what really happened. According to reports by one of the mechanics in the control room at the time, the fire could have begun as early as two hours before the alarms were sounded and the passengers were warned. The mechanic, Marlon Doblado, stated that the fire began after one of the hoses carrying fuel in the control room ruptured and the fuel caught fire. Crew members tried to put out the fire for about two hours while it was still contained in the control room before finally giving up.

A passenger from the America Cruise Ferries is carried on a stretcher after being rescued from the ship that was burning about two miles off of San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Alvin Baez

Photo Credit: CBS News, REUTERS/Alvin Baez

Mr. Crespo further reported that a total of 24 passengers from the ship had been hospitalized while another 105 passengers were treated or attended to on the spot. Fortunately, there were no fatalities and no life-threatening injuries as most of the people treated on the spot suffered only from heat stroke, shock, or dehydration. Others who had suffered more severe injuries were admitted for broken limbs resulting from frantic attempts to evacuate the ship.

Rescue teams from different authorities, including the US Coast Guard, as well as private ships could still be seen hovering around the burning cruise ship up to five hours after the fire was first detected.

The ill-fated Caribbean Fantasy cruise ship is part of a fleet belonging to the American Cruise Ferries Company and was on its way to Puerto Rico at the time of the accident. Many of the passengers on the ship were teenage children who were traveling to Puerto Rico to take part in a regional competition. They included a boys’ baseball team, a girls’ volleyball team, and a cycling team. Those who survived the incident without injury were loaded onto city buses contracted to transport them to their initial, original destinations. The majority of the passengers were Dominican citizens, most of whom follow the route weekly on the same cruise ship. Despite the popularity of the route, it is very rare that a cruise ship accident of this nature is reported.

Official reports from the authorities in charge state that the real cause of the fire is yet to be established, but investigations conducted by ProPublica point to a more obvious culprit. The investigations reveal that the US Coast Guard had carried out at least 61 inspections of the Caribbean Fantasy since 2010, and they had uncovered 107 deficiencies within that time. There were no serious deficiencies discovered in the most recent years, but a 2015 inspection did recommend that the oil fuel lines be insulated properly to stop them from leaking onto ignition surfaces.

Representatives from The American Cruise Ferries company have yet to comment on the cruise ship accident, and the ill-fated ferry lies idle at the moment.

CONTACTING AN EXPERIENCED CRUISE SHIP ACCIDENT LAWYER

Pain and suffering, costly medical bills, lost wages, and loss of enjoyment during your vacation are some of the most common problems associated with cruise ship accidents. Even though they fall under personal injury laws, many personal injury lawyers in the US lack adequate experience in handling these types of cases. What many people injured on cruise ships don’t realize is that no matter where the ship was sailing to, the case must be litigated here in Miami in Federal court, where many of the cruise lines such as Royal CaribbeanNorwegian, and Carnival have their corporate offices.

Our experienced cruise ship accident lawyers in Miami are able to assist in the initial investigation of your case in order to provide you with the justice and compensation you deserve. With over 20 years of experience, we offer free initial consultations and are available by telephone at 1-866-597-4529 or 305-441-0440 and via email at [email protected]. If you have fallen victim to an injury due to a cruise line’s negligence, contact us today. We are ready to help!