Investigation Underway After Fires Onboard New P&O Cruise Ship At Shipyard

Authorities launched an investigation after two fires recently broke out onboard the P&O Arvia cruise ship, under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard.

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Authorities in Germany are investigating two fires onboard P&O Cruises’ newest cruise ship, Arvia. Although the fires occurred two weeks ago, local authorities and the shipyard only commented on the fires and subsequent investigation now. 

According to police reports, the fires caused one security guard to be hospitalized and treated for smoke inhalation. The Meyer Werft shipyard, which is also constructing Carnival Jubilee, said the release date for Arvia is not affected by the fires. 

Police investigate two fires onboard Arvia

The Papenburg police department is investigating the cause of two fires that occurred onboard P&O Cruises’ newest cruise ship, Arvia. The fires caused property damage of about 60,000 euros. A rubbish bin burnt in a storage room on board, and there was a fire in a cabin opposite.

What caused the fires is unclear as they happened in two separate rooms onboard the vessel. 

P&O Arvia Construction at Meyer Werft
Photo Courtesy: P&O Cruises

According to the police, one fire broke out in a rubbish bin located in a storage room. Another fire broke out in a cabin opposite the storage room. The police have started investigations into the cause of the fire and said arson could not be ruled out.

One security guard inhaled too much smoke and had to be taken to the hospital for further treatment. The fires were quickly extinguished by the Meyer Werft fire brigade promptly extinguished the fires with help from the Papenburg and Aschendorf fire brigades.

According to shipyard spokesperson Florian Feimann, the shipyard is cooperating with police departments in the investigation. Arvia is in the final stages of construction and scheduled to be delivered to the new owners, UK-based P&O Cruises, before the end of the year. 

The fires have not affected the intended delivery date, as damage onboard was minor. However, it will take some time to strip the affected areas and ensure they are as new when the vessel is delivered.

The 184,700 gross ton Arvia, a sister ship to P&O Iona, Carnival’s Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration, is scheduled to sail on her maiden voyage in November of this year, a 15-day cruise from Southampton to the Canary Islands. 

The ship will then cross the Atlantic on January 6, 2023, to the Caribbean, the new operational area for Arvia, sailing from Barbados and Antigua. 

Fire Number One Risk For Cruise Ships

Unfortunately, fires onboard cruise ships are not uncommon, in particular during construction. ‘Hot Work,’ is a name used in the shipping industry for any activity involving fire, welding, grinding, or other works that could cause a fire. With ships’ fire systems not yet pressurized or switched on, a small fire can quickly become a huge problem. 

In recent years, shipyards had to deal with several smaller fires onboard ships under construction. Most recently, two fires occurred onboard Odyssey of the Seas while she was being built.

Meyer Werft Shipyard
Photo Credit: MartinLueke / Shutterstock.com

At the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, a fire broke out on the Costa Smeralda in 2019; some equipment caught on fire after the start of welding inside the ship.

Carnival Triumph, now Sunrise, suffered a fire while in dry dock back in 2019. The fire started on deck 4 near the bow. A spark ignited the fire during some welding work onboard. 

One of the most notable fires was back in 2002. During construction in Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard, a fire broke out onboard Diamond Princess. The fire raged for 19 hours aboard, consuming decks 5 through 13. 

At the time, the ship was less than a year from completion; the fire caused the launch to be delayed by some two years and made it necessary for the shipyard to swap the hulls of Sapphire Princess and Diamond Princess. In fact, guests sailing onboard Diamond Princess now are actually sailing onboard the original Sapphire Princess.

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