The Azamara Quest cruise ship experienced an engine room fire that caused it to float near the Philippines for 24 hours before docking at Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia, sources indicate. The 11-deck cruise ship, owned by Azamara Club Cruises and operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises, LTD., was carrying 1001 passengers and crew members at the time of the cruise ship accident. While no passengers were injured, five crew members were treated for smoke inhalation upon disembarking. It is not clear whether any of those aboard plan on filing lawsuits or are in need of a personal injury attorney.
Reports indicate that 201 of the passengers aboard the cruise ship at the time of the incident were Americans, though it is not clear whether any of the crew members were American. The ship was also carrying Canadian, British, Swiss, Austrian, German, New Zealander and Belgium passengers. The cruise started on March 26 in Hong Kong and was meant to end in Singapore on April 12. “As a gesture of goodwill and to thank our guests for their understanding, we will be providing all guests with a full refund for their cruise,” announced Azamara Club Cruises in a statement following the cruise ship accident.
The engine room caught fire for unknown reasons on Friday evening, according to reports. While the fire was immediately contained, the ship’s captain still called all passengers to assembly points as a precaution. The fire caused the ship to lose its’ air conditioning capacity as well as the capacity to move, and passengers indicated that it had been quite hot aboard the ship while the engine was out.
However, technicians were able to restore power to the vessel on Saturday evening. The liner immediately made for Sandakan, a city on Malaysia’s Borneo Island. Photos of the arrival of the ship show exhausted-looking passengers boarding buses bound for hotels. Crew members who had suffered from smoke inhalation were reportedly treated at a Sandakan hospital.
Passengers agreed that the situation had been handled vey well by the captain and crew of the ship. “It was unfortunate, but the crew was totally, utterly amazing, taking care of us, making sure we were safe, pulling double duty, made sure that we got everything that we needed,” said a Virgin Islands woman who had gone on the cruise with her husband to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Other passengers told the press that “the captain was phenomenal” and there was “no panic, no chaos, everything was under control.”
That description comes in stark contrast to the infamous Costa Concordia incident that took place on January 13th, 2012, during which the captain reportedly made cell phone calls, refuse to take action, and evacuated while passengers were still aboard the liner. Captain Francesco Schettino is now facing multiple counts of manslaughter in the case, which made international headlines and has resulted in several class-action lawsuits. Just afterward, another ship from the same fleet run by Carnival Cruises, the Costa Allegra, experienced a fire in the Indian Ocean and was left without power. It had to be towed to the nearby Seychelles islands.