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UPDATE - Are there similarities between Costa Concordia and Carnival Splendor incidents?

UPDATE 1: It has now emerged that significant human error rater than technical problems, as had been suggested earlier, was the cause of the accident.


It has been suggested an a power surge in the diesel electric propulsion plant of Costa Crociere's 114,500 gross ton Costa Concordia caused the ship run aground (see separate report) as those on the bridge lost control of the vessel. 

In the autumn of 2010, Carnival Cruise Line's 110,239 gross ton Carnival Splendor suffered an engine room fire that resulted in the loss of all power and the ship had to be towed to port. Built in 2008, Carnival Splendor is technically similar to the 2006 built Costa Concordia. Both are powered by diesel electric propulsion plants as indeed are most cruise ships in service today.

On most of these ships - but not on all - the diesel generators feed power to various systems on board via a single electric switchboard. On some ships, there are two switchboards, which means that there is redundancy in case of an accident involving one of them, chief engineer of a major cruise ship told Cruise Business. 

Below news report on Carnival Splendor incident: 


 TUESDAY, 09 NOVEMBER 2010 06:43





The cruise ship Carnival Splendor, which lost power after experiencing an engine room fire, is currently being towed via tug boats to San Diego. Based on favorable sea conditions, the ship is expected to arrive around midday on Thursday.

As the ship gets closer to coastal areas, guests are now beginning to receive intermittent cellular service. Additionally, the ship’s phone system is working on a limited basis and guests are able to make complimentary calls home. A large Carnival team continues to work on hotel, flight and transportation arrangements for the guests and will be on the ground in San Diego when the ship arrives.

Guests continue to be provided food and beverage service and a limited schedule of activities. Toilets continue to function in most staterooms and all public restrooms. 

At approximately 6 am yesterday morning (U.S. Pacific Standard Time), a fire was detected in the aft engine room aboard the cruise ship Carnival Splendor. The fire was extinguished and there were no injuries to guests or crew. The ship has been operating on auxiliary generators throughout the day and engineers have been unable to restore additional power to the vessel. As a result, the current voyage is being terminated. Tugboats are currently en route to the ship which is located off the coast of Mexico, approximately 150 miles south of San Diego. The tugs will tow the vessel to Ensenada, Mexico in an effort to get the guests home as quickly as possible.

Currently several key hotel systems, including air conditioning, hot food service, flushing toilets and telephones are not available. The ship’s crew is actively working to restore partial services. Regular announcements apprising guests of the situation began at approximately 6.30 am. Guests were initially asked to move from their cabins to the ship’s upper open deck areas. At this time, guests have access to their cabins and are able to move about the ship. Bottled water and cold food items are being provided.

The vessel’s command is in contact with the U.S. Coast Guard which has deployed aircraft and cutters to the cruise ship’s location.

Guests on the current voyage will be receiving a full refund along with reimbursement for transportation costs. Additionally, they will receive a complimentary future cruise equal to the amount paid for this voyage.

"We know this has been an extremely trying situation for our guests and we sincerely thank them for their patience. Conditions on board the ship are very challenging and we sincerely apologize for the discomfort and inconvenience our guests are currently enduring. The safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority and we are working to get our guests home as quickly as possible," said Gerry Cahill, President and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines.

Carnival Splendor was on the first leg of a 7-night Mexican Riviera cruise that departed yesterday, Nov. 7, from Long Beach, Calif. Today was a scheduled day at sea. The ship’s normal itinerary includes stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The ship, which measures 113,000 gross registered tons and first entered service in July 2008, is carrying 3,299 guests and 1167 crew.