TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Photos and videos on Twitter showed smoke and flames billowing from a cruise ship docked in Grand Turk on Thursday.
News Channel 8 obtained video of the fire from Twitter users Chester 4×4 and SantaPanda39.
Passengers tell us the Carnival Freedom left Port Canaveral, Florida, on Monday and was docked in Grand Turk Island when the fire broke out inside the ship’s tail funnel on Thursday.
“The Carnival Freedom’s funnel/exhaust system is currently on fire in Grand Turk’s port,” said Blake, a passenger on the Carnival Mardis Gras, which was docked next to the Freedom when the fire started.
Passengers on the ship said they had to assemble at the muster station and put on life jackets. No evacuations were ordered.
Carnival released a statement saying, “Freedom’s emergency response team quickly activated and extinguished a fire inside the ship’s funnel.”
Carnival said that all guests and crew were safe and they were cleared by local authorities to go ashore.
“We are all safe and were able to disembark as planned. As to what happens next, we have no clue,” one passenger said.
Carnival said it will continue to assess the situation. The Freedom remained in port after its scheduled departure time on Thursday.
The 948-foot vessel was built in 2007 and can carry up to 3,581 passengers, according to CruiseMapper.
An update from Carnival said the Freedom’s next cruise which was scheduled for May 28 has been canceled and the ship will go to Freeport for repairs.
Passengers will transfer to another ship, Conquest, which take them back to Port Canaveral. It is scheduled to arrive on May 28 and get back passengers back to Florida on May 30.
Conquest’s next trip, scheduled for May 27 has been canceled. It’s next trip after that, leaving May 30 has been delayed a day to May 31.
It’s a trip Summer Richardson and her friends will never forget.
“It was supposed to be a fun girls trip,” Richardson said.
They’ve spent the last several days on the Carnival Freedom. Richardson says an alarm woke them up Thursday. They didn’t think much of it, but when they stepped out on their balcony, they saw black smoke and flames.
“First thing we did was get our passports because you don’t want to be stranded in a foreign country,” Richardson said.
Richardson said everyone’s adrenaline was running. One of her other friend’s came running down the hallway.
“She couldn’t find our room, so she knocked on every single room until she found us,” Richardson said.
Richardson says the fire was unpredictable, but one thing they can predict, they won’t let it put a damper on their girls trip.
“If we’re stuck here for another day and a half, hey, that’s just an extension on our vacation we couldn’t be stuck in a better area. You know, it’s drinks, it’s the sunshine beaches,” Richardson said.
Carnival’s full statement is below:
On Thursday morning while in port at Grand Turk, Carnival Freedom’s emergency response team quickly activated and extinguished a fire inside the ship’s funnel. All guests and crew are safe, and all other ship, hotel, and guest services, along with safety equipment are fully functioning.
While the majority of Carnival Freedom’s guests went ashore in Grand Turk today, Carnival’s technical team completed an initial assessment of the funnel and related features, and the shoreside team completed a plan to get our guests back to Port Canaveral.
There are 2504 guests and 972 crew on board. Carnival Conquest’s next cruise, departing May 27 from Miami has been cancelled and that ship will be deployed to Grand Turk to transport Freedom guests back to Port Canaveral. Carnival Conquest will arrive to Grand Turk on Saturday, May 28 and guests aboard Carnival Freedom will transfer to Carnival Conquest for the voyage back to Port Canaveral, arriving on Monday, May 30. Carnival Conquest will then return to Miami, and her May 30 departure will be shortened by one day, with guests embarking on May 31.
Once guests are transferred from Carnival Freedom, the ship will proceed to Freeport for a repair to the funnel. The May 28 departure of Carnival Freedom from Port Canaveral has been cancelled. Guests booked on the impacted sailings on Carnival Conquest and Carnival Freedom voyages have been notified of these changes.
Carnival apologized to all those guests who are impacted and offered special thanks to the crew who handled the situation on the ship effectively and according to safety protocols.