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Fire on Noordam at 3.10am


danceman
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I read with interest the comments above that HAL has had "more than their share" of fires.

 

Perhaps HAL is more prone to sounding the alarm when they have a minor incident... But more fires? I somehow dont think so. Google "Passenger ship fires" and you will find a web site devoted to the subject . Within THAT site they have a page devoted to "Significant" cruise ship fires since 1970.

 

There have been about 40, and only 3 are HAL. (And one of them is the Westerdam a couple months ago, and I dont know if I would consider THAT "significant"....)

 

In comparison, SIXTEEN have been Carnival ships.....

 

See it here: http://www.cruiseshipfires.com/Fires/cruise_ship_fires.html

 

My feelings exactly.

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Just back from same cruise - 22 nights b to b

 

Yes it was scary but [sorry OP]it wasn't 30- 40 minutes when the captain came back on far more like 10-15 not to split hairs. Some people did go down to the prom deck in lifejackets. Sure it felt like a long time!

 

My thoughts are that these things happen - that's what all the crew training is for. However, there were many guests who were not English speaking and this may have caused some confusion. If HAL are taking bookings from Russia, Spain etc then they have a duty of care to inform people in their own language surely? Otherwise no complaints and happily went back to sleep a little while later.

 

Teresa

 

PS for me even more of a reason to ban smoking! [just to wind you smokers up]

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s

That may be true at HAL, but I don't feel that this gives a true training experience. Generally, the Safety Manager onboard sets the drill parameters, so that he can set smoke pots, stage "casualties", block exits, etc, to give each drill in a particular space a new "feel" each time. Sometimes we would even block off one of the fire team's equipment lockers to see how they reacted and how quickly they could gear up from their backup equipment locker. At NCL, the Captain, Staff Captain, Staff Chief Engineer, and Safety Manager would meet prior to the drill to discuss how it would progress. Most officers in these positions have done weekly drills for 20+ years, and know how they should progress, so surprise isn't necessary. Besides, there are fire plans for how to deal with fires in virtually every space onboard, that give the officers great detail on how best to approach a situation.

 

Fire drills for crew on HAL take place, on the avg, once a week. The drill scenarios are set up by the two safety officers (Deck and Engineering). On HAL the makeup of the fire teams consist of officers and ratings of the Deck (two teams) and Technical/Engineering Departments (two). Deckies and Techies will take turns every other drill organizing same. The Incident Commander will either be the

1st Officer (Deck) or the 1st Engineer (Technical). A smoke generating machine will be used for certain scenarios, as will charged fire hoses. Team leaders will have thermal imaging cameras as part of their standard equipment which are used to detect heat sources.

 

SOP is for, upon receipt of the initial call of smoke for a 1st responder to make his/her way to the area post haste for an initial assessment. Drills, for the most part, take place on port days and in crew only areas such as locations like the engine room, main laundry, provisioning rooms (HAL does not use the word "silos"), painters shop, crew gym, mooring deck, crew berthing, carpenters workshop, auxiliary steering room, etc. We conduct however also fire drills in passenger accessible areas such as the main show room/cast dressing rooms, Club HAL (always fun climbing 10-12 decks with SCBA on your back ;) ), etc. If the drill takes place in a passenger accessible area, fire screen doors in passenger corridors could be closed however, members of the ship's Rescue Squad will be positioned at those doors to allow access to passengers during the drill.

 

Like NCL, some drills start off as a fire and will evolve into a full abandon ship drill for all crew except those in essential positions. Once the drill is concluded, there will be a debrief session for all participants, led by the staff captain and/or chief engineer with the captain in attendance

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We had a fire breaking out last year on the Maasdam in the incinerator room at night. Since we are not seasoned cruisers it was a little scary and my first instinct was to check on tv how close to the next island we were just in case we had to get off. :)

 

But I must say the Captain informed everyone on the way but at the end of the day his main job will be to get the fire under control. I was happy with how everything was handled and kudos to all the staff and Captain.

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s

 

Fire drills for crew on HAL take place, on the avg, once a week. The drill scenarios are set up by the two safety officers (Deck and Engineering). On HAL the makeup of the fire teams consist of officers and ratings of the Deck (two teams) and Technical/Engineering Departments (two). Deckies and Techies will take turns every other drill organizing same. The Incident Commander will either be the

1st Officer (Deck) or the 1st Engineer (Technical). A smoke generating machine will be used for certain scenarios, as will charged fire hoses. Team leaders will have thermal imaging cameras as part of their standard equipment which are used to detect heat sources.

 

SOP is for, upon receipt of the initial call of smoke for a 1st responder to make his/her way to the area post haste for an initial assessment. Drills, for the most part, take place on port days and in crew only areas such as locations like the engine room, main laundry, provisioning rooms (HAL does not use the word "silos"), painters shop, crew gym, mooring deck, crew berthing, carpenters workshop, auxiliary steering room, etc. We conduct however also fire drills in passenger accessible areas such as the main show room/cast dressing rooms, Club HAL (always fun climbing 10-12 decks with SCBA on your back ;) ), etc. If the drill takes place in a passenger accessible area, fire screen doors in passenger corridors could be closed however, members of the ship's Rescue Squad will be positioned at those doors to allow access to passengers during the drill.

 

Like NCL, some drills start off as a fire and will evolve into a full abandon ship drill for all crew except those in essential positions. Once the drill is concluded, there will be a debrief session for all participants, led by the staff captain and/or chief engineer with the captain in attendance

 

Thanks, John;

 

While a complete surprise drill will measure how you cope in an emergency, most of the drill is training, and unless someone can "stage manage" the drill with advance knowledge, the training is lacking.

 

Interesting to note the differences between lines. NCL has a dedicated Safety Manager, who oversees the drills, and conducts the crew training. Internationally, NCL wants to have 2 deck/engine types on each fire team to provide advanced training/experience, and the remainder of the team is made up by Hotel crew. On the US flag ships, this became a major problem, because the fire teams were restricted to ship every 3rd day (six fire teams, two onboard at all times), and the deck/engine ratings' union required the payment of overtime if the crewmember was restricted to the ship. This would have resulted in 16 hours of overtime every 3rd day, regardless of whether the crewmember was working or sleeping. So, we went away from this, but also had to contend with US labor laws, so all the fire team members had to be volunteers (agreeing to be restricted to ship without pay). When the Corporate Safety Director came to the Aloha, one of his missions was to force us to use deck/engine ratings in the fire teams. Then, when he saw a drill, and how the volunteers on the fire teams really cared about what they were doing and learning, he said "don't change a thing, that was the best drill he had ever seen".

 

NCL tends to use one "On Scene Commander", the Staff Chief Engineer (not sure of HAL's equivalent; Junior Chief, Assistant Chief) as he/she is the most knowledgeable person about any space onboard.

 

I know what you mean about dashing up 10 decks in bunker gear. We tend to dry clean the fireman's suits after every drill, because some crew will lose 5 pounds during a drill.

 

Our "fast response team" is made up of engineering types like the electricians, plumbers, and reefer engineers who know how to secure power and ventilation to any specific area quickly.

 

My personal favorite is to have the fire teams with charged fire hoses, in the engine spaces, getting the hose caught on every valve and bracket. For even more fun, we will schedule the required function test of the water mist fire suppression system at the same time, so they are getting soaked in the process. If it ain't realistic, it ain't training.

 

Another funny experience was regarding the Safety Manager. He was to just observe the crew during drill, and make notes for the debrief, but he couldn't help stopping fire teams and pointing out things. I warned him to stop doing this, but he didn't, so I told the fire teams one day that if he interfered again, they were to call me and say there was an unruly passenger in the fire area. I had the Safety Manager escorted out of the hot zone, and had Security zip tie him and take him to the brig for the rest of the drill. Lesson learned.

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Thanks, John;

 

While a complete surprise drill will measure how you cope in an emergency, most of the drill is training, and unless someone can "stage manage" the drill with advance knowledge, the training is lacking.

 

Interesting to note the differences between lines. NCL has a dedicated Safety Manager, who oversees the drills, and conducts the crew training. Internationally, NCL wants to have 2 deck/engine types on each fire team to provide advanced training/experience, and the remainder of the team is made up by Hotel crew. On the US flag ships, this became a major problem, because the fire teams were restricted to ship every 3rd day (six fire teams, two onboard at all times), and the deck/engine ratings' union required the payment of overtime if the crewmember was restricted to the ship. This would have resulted in 16 hours of overtime every 3rd day, regardless of whether the crewmember was working or sleeping. So, we went away from this, but also had to contend with US labor laws, so all the fire team members had to be volunteers (agreeing to be restricted to ship without pay). When the Corporate Safety Director came to the Aloha, one of his missions was to force us to use deck/engine ratings in the fire teams. Then, when he saw a drill, and how the volunteers on the fire teams really cared about what they were doing and learning, he said "don't change a thing, that was the best drill he had ever seen".

 

NCL tends to use one "On Scene Commander", the Staff Chief Engineer (not sure of HAL's equivalent; Junior Chief, Assistant Chief) as he/she is the most knowledgeable person about any space onboard.

 

I know what you mean about dashing up 10 decks in bunker gear. We tend to dry clean the fireman's suits after every drill, because some crew will lose 5 pounds during a drill.

 

Our "fast response team" is made up of engineering types like the electricians, plumbers, and reefer engineers who know how to secure power and ventilation to any specific area quickly.

 

My personal favorite is to have the fire teams with charged fire hoses, in the engine spaces, getting the hose caught on every valve and bracket. For even more fun, we will schedule the required function test of the water mist fire suppression system at the same time, so they are getting soaked in the process. If it ain't realistic, it ain't training.

 

Another funny experience was regarding the Safety Manager. He was to just observe the crew during drill, and make notes for the debrief, but he couldn't help stopping fire teams and pointing out things. I warned him to stop doing this, but he didn't, so I told the fire teams one day that if he interfered again, they were to call me and say there was an unruly passenger in the fire area. I had the Safety Manager escorted out of the hot zone, and had Security zip tie him and take him to the brig for the rest of the drill. Lesson learned.

 

That's good stuff mate! Thanks for the comparisons! HAL uses the rank "staff chief engineer" also (the #2 below the chief engineer) and the routinely used name for the IC is either On Scene Commander Deck or On Scene Commander Engine. Besides the four fire teams, HAL uses hose support teams, fire team dressers, SCBA refill team (BA Bottle team), BA control board operator, Rescue Squad, Stretcher team (always accompanied by a medical officer/nurse) plus members of the Hotel Dept will become the Passenger Assist team and Passenger Notification teams

 

Deck fire teams consist of Deck officers, carpenters, tailors, plumbers, upholsterers, fire safety attendants, locksmith, and deck machinist. Technical/Engine fire teams consist of officers, facilities manager and asst. facilities manager, engine mechanics. machinists and reefer technicians.

 

I can see how on NCL's U.S. flagged vessel, things can be a bit different with U.S. labor laws.

 

You take care and be safe! :)

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Just got back from 11 night med cruise on Noordam. On the 25th August we got to bed at 1.30am after putting our luggage out for the last collection at 1.00am

On the last night of the cruise, at 3.10am the fire alarm sounded while we were fast asleep in our cabin. We didnt actually realise it was the fire alarm as we were disorientated and sleepy initially but then the officer of the watch came over the speaker in our cabin to say that a fire had been located on deck 3 aft and that fire crews were being dispatched and to remain calm. We have been on over 100 cruises and have never had this happen before so we felt it must be serious to have made the announcement in the middle of the night.

We were on deck 6 aft....so the fire was below us!....i went out onto our balcony to see if i could see any signs of a fire....there were several other people out on their balconies also looking around...couldnt see any fire...we were still sailing at normal speed...it was a dark night with the sea rushing past below.

15 minutes later the captain came on over the speaker to say there was indeed a fire in the incinerator room which had not yet spread to the passenger areas....that we are to remain calm and await further updates.

My stomach turned over and i felt rather sick at this announcement and i had visions of us getting into the lifeboats. I opened our cabin door and there were several other people also looking down the corridor and some were walking/running wearing life jackets!

Two of our children were in a cabin with an aunt at the other end of the ship (she had them dressed and in their life jackets by this time...they were frightened)

We remained in our cabins although others went to the life boats.

After approx another 30/40 minutes the captain came back on to say that the fire had been put out and that fire crews would stay in the vicinity for a while to make sure it was safe, and that we could now go back to bed!

Needless to say....none of us got any sleep after this.

It was a frightening experience and spoilt the end of our cruise. There was no announcement next morning or apology.

We spent our next day in Rome as we had booked a hotel so we could do some sightseeing before flying home but we were so tired and exhausted this day was spoilt.

In relation to some other cruise horror stories and the costa concordia sinking this is nothing of course....but all the same it was still very frightening and upsetting to us all.

Should i make a complaint or just thank our lucky stars it wasnt worse?

I an so sorry to hear of this stressful situation you encountered on the last night and can certainly understand your anxiety but I do not think you are justified in filing a complaint. The Captain and crew did what they needed to do to keep you, your family and all the passengers safe and they did their job professionally and wonderfully. Be grateful that all you suffered was a few hours of sleep deprivation and everyone got off safely. I salute the Captain and the Crew for doing such a wonderful job. I'm glad you are all okay. Maryjo

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