Puerto Rico Ferry Fire

The United States Coast Guard rescued and evacuated over 500 passengers from a burning cruise ship near Puerto Rico, on August 17, 2016. The Caribbean Fantasy, a combination cruise and ferry ship operated by America Cruise Ferries, transports passengers between San Juan, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. According to a Coast Guard spokesman, the ferry was an hour out of San Juan when the fire broke out. It is believed that a hose in the ship’s engine room that carried flammable fuel burst and caught fire. The fire eventually spread to the rest of the ship. According to reports, the fire was burning for some time before the alarm was sounded to alert the passengers. The Coast Guard has started its investigation into the fire.

Since 2010, the Coast Guard has identified 107 deficiencies during inspections on the ship. A January 2015 inspection stated that oil fuel lines needed to be screened or protected in some way to avoid any spray or leakage onto ignition sources. In 2012 and 2013, the vessel experienced multiple equipment failures related to its onboard engines.

Over 100 passengers were treated for injuries at the scene, and another 24 required hospitalization.

Spagnoletti Law Firm has wide experience in cases involving cruise ships and passenger ferries of all kinds. The experienced maritime attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a passenger on the ferry. There are strict and short time limits on making claims related to vessel accidents, so pease contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or  to learn more about your rights.