Crown Princess Investigation Far From Completed

Ana Figueroa According to representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), it may take up to 18 months to complete the investigation of the July 18 listing incident aboard the Crown Princess. The incident, which took place after the ship departed Port Canaveral, Fla., caused the ship

By: Ana Figueroa

According to representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), it may take up to 18 months to complete the investigation of the July 18 listing incident aboard the Crown Princess. The incident, which took place after the ship departed Port Canaveral, Fla., caused the ship to tip strongly to one side. More than 200 passengers sustained injuries after being jostled about, and dozens required hospitalization.

The 113,000-ton, 3,080-passenger Crown Princess is the newest member of the Princess fleet, entering service from New York on June 14. It was completing one of its regularly scheduled nine-day Western Caribbean cruises when the listing occurred. Port Canaveral was its last port of call before returning to New York.

After being cleared to sail by the Coast Guard, Crown Princess returned to service July 22, on a shortened seven-day cruise. Passengers who wished to cancel the cruise were given full refunds, and those who took the sailing were given a 50 percent refund of the cruise fare. (Passengers onboard during the listing incident received full refunds).

In a “Letter to Passengers” dated July 24, Princess Cruises president Alan Buckelew, said: “We express our sincerest apologies for this regrettable event, and fully understand that this was a distressing experience for all who were on board. We especially extend our apologies to those passengers and crew who were injured. We are grateful that the injuries were not life-threatening, and also that those transferred to hospitals for evaluation and treatment have now been released with the exception of one passenger, for whom we wish a speedy and full recovery.”

Buckelew also noted that the line “immediately cooperated” with representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the NTSB and the Bermuda flag authorities after the incident. The statement, no doubt, was in response to news reports that questioned whether officers promptly notified maritime authorities of the incident.

Although the listing is still under investigation, Princess Cruises did confirm that it was caused by “human error” and that appropriate personnel changes have been made.

“We want to unequivocally emphasize that we would never operate an unsafe ship, nor would the U.S. Coast Guard allow a ship to sail that had any safety issues,” said Buckelew.

Crown Princess sails nine-day Caribbean itineraries from New York. In November, the ship will reposition to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for a winter season of seven-day Caribbean cruises.

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