2001 Maritime

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Biloxi, MS, June 5 & 6

May 30, 2001

Coast Guard holds Norway in Miami
The Coast Guard was today continuing to hold the NCL cruise ship Norway in port in Miami after the Marine Safety Office, Miami, withdrew its Control Verification Exam Letter last Sunday.

MSO Miami inspectors discovered that the vessel's sprinkler system was not in accordance with International Safety Standards. More than 100 temporary soft patches were placed on pipes that carried water to sprinkler heads. (See Coast Guard photograph showing soft patches on a section of the sprinkler system)

.Soft patches on Norway sprinkler system

Coast Guard examiners were concerned that the condition of the system could prevent the sprinkler heads from performing as designed during a fire. The temporary patches consisted of pieces of rubber placed over leaks and held in place by metal bands, similar to hose clamps.

Capt. Larry Bowling, commanding officer of MSO Miami, therefore pulled the Norway's CVE letter. This letter allows the ship to carry passengers out of a U.S. port. The Coast Guard said the safety discrepancies "could severely limit the ship's ability to fight a fire on board."

"We sympathize with the passengers whose vacations this will effect," Bowling said. "We do not take this action lightly; in the Coast Guard's view the potential for loss of life at sea, however, far outweighs the inconvenience of a delayed vacation."

The Control Verification Exam Letter will not be reissued until appropriate repairs are made to the sprinkler system. The Coast Guard has already rejected initial repairs made to the system.On Monday evening,inspectors from MSO Miami conducted an inspection of these repairs by pressurizing the system. A visual inspection of the more than 106 new welds was conducted to confirm the repairs would hold under pressure. Coast Guard officers discovered that 26 of the new welds were leaking.

"Therefore," a Coast Guard statement said, "the Norway's sprinkler system is not satisfactory or in compliance with international safety standards. MSO Miami inspectors will continue to work with NCL to ensure satisfactory repairs are made to the Norway's sprinkler system."