Originally Posted by You
On the 23 cruise ships I have managed over the past 30 years, we have had one or more fires onboard nearly every week.
They usually occur in the predictable places; engine room, galley, incinerator room, laundry.
On very rare occasions they happen in crew cabins, and relatively more often in passenger cabins.
The majority of passenger cabin fires are caused by irons, hair curlers, candles, and incense.
Most fires on ships are so small that they are extinguished with the equivalent of a glass of water.
Most fires on ships are not even reported to the passengers, because they are so insignificant that it is not worth waking up passengers at night, or disturbing their Bingo game to tell them about it.
Do they pose a danger to everyone on board?
Technically, yes they do.
So how many passengers have been killed by fires on cruise ships?
Actually, very few.
In the past 100 years, far more people were killed by shark attacks than by ship fires.
Last year alone, just in America, far more people were killed by riding lawn mowers than all the people killed worldwide by passenger ship fires in all of recorded history.
Should we still be concerned about fire on cruise ships?
But by putting risk into logical perspective, we might worry just a bit more about the dangers of swimming in the ocean and mowing our lawns.
Well, yes and no.
When I was young, my dad noticed a neighbor a year older than me standing next to the street crying while on the way home from one of my little league games. He stopped, and we asked her what was wrong. She answered that the mother diagonally across the street from us accidently had run over her son with a "sit and ride" lawnmower, killing the son. When we arrived home, my mother -- who had called for an ambulance while the mother held the son's head together, blood dripping on our back walk -- was obviously quite shaken by the incident. Apparently the mother had turned her head to tell her daughter to stay away from the lawnmower and thus did not see her son run in front of it.
But I also have very vivid memories of the burned out hulk of the SS Jagat Padmini
after fire crews from USS South Carolina
(CGN-37) put out a fire that had started in her engine room and engulfed the whole ship, up to the bridge, during a midshipman cruise aboard USS California
(CG-36). With nowhere else to go, most of the crew of the hulk was in the water when our "kid sister" arrived on the scene.
Safety at sea requires constant attention to detail -- and I do mean every
detail. The sea is often very unforgiving, and those who neglect the persnickety details of safety often pay the ultimate price.
I'm reminded of a poster depicting a fairly large open safety pin bearing the words, "Safety first. Get the point?"
Yes, that's exactly what is necessary!