'Splendor' Wrong Word for Report

As the investigation begins into the horrific plane crash in San Francisco this month, one of the possibilities is that the accident was due to pilot error, but it will of course take time.

The investigation into the fire that left the Carnival Splendor drifting off the coast of California is now complete — it took close to three years — and "pilot" error was duly noted.

Specifically, the guilty party was an unnamed "bridge watch stander" who reset the fire detection systems after they were triggered by smoke detectors. This meant, according to the report, that the fire could have been put out right away if the water mist fire protection system had been activated.

Instead, the fire spread and burned off and on for seven hours, leaving more than 3,000 passengers on a ship without power for three days.

The 51-page report made public yesterday came from the U.S. Coast Guard, and news of it was in The Herald in Miami, home of Carnival Cruise Lines. According to the newspaper it "faulted crew members for immediately failing to manually activate the water mist system; firefighting teams’ lack of familiarity with the engine room, which made the initial fire more difficult to find and extinguish; the use of portable dry chemicals and carbon dioxide extinguishers rather than fire hoses; the captain’s decision to ventilate the engine room before the fire was fully out and carbon dioxide fire suppression systems that did not work."

It could only have been more scathing if lives had been lost, and none were.

The Coast Guard made five recommendations, and by then Carnival had already spent $300 million in safety improvements on its 24 ships and formulated its own Safety & Reliability Review Board, with more than half its members from outside the company.

Unfortunately, all the safety systems possible can be undermined by one human error.

Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas
6 nights
October 25, 2013
Baltimore (return): King's Wharf
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $66


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