Carnival cruise ship that set sail from Florida catches fire in Grand Turk

A Carnival cruise ship that set sail from Port Canaveral in Florida caught fire on Thursday. The Carnival Freedom ship was in Grand Turk on a five-day cruise when a fire inside the ships funnel started, according to a press release from Carnival.

Carnival says the fire was quickly extinguished by emergency response teams, and that all guests and crew are safe. The ship’s guests were cleared by local authorities to go ashore. Carnival is continuing to assess the situation.

Social media posts show flames spewing from the funnel of the ship and black smoke billowing in the air.

The ship had 2,504 guests and 972 crew onboard, Carnival said. Another ship, the Carnival Conquest, will travel from Miami to pick everyone up from Grand Turk on Saturday. They are expected to arrive in Port Canaveral on Monday.

The Conquest’s next trip, scheduled to depart from Miami on Friday, has been canceled, as was the Freedom’s next trip, scheduled to begin Saturday.

The Freedom ship will be taken to Freeport for a “repair to the funnel,” Carnival said. All guests impacted by the changes in upcoming trips have been notified.

Last month, passengers on a Carnival cruise from Miami to Seattle were forced to quarantine after people onboard tested positive for COVID-19. Carnival did not say how many of the approximately 2,100 passengers aboard were infected. Upon docking, all infected passengers were moved to area hotels for isolation.

While cruise ship fires are not common, they have occurred before. In 2016, more than 500 passengers and crew were evacuated from a burning ship about a mile off Puerto Rico’s north coast. Many aboard the Caribbean Fantasy ship required medical care, though there were no reported fatalities.

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