VIDEO: Spirit of Norfolk towed to Colonna’sWritten by Nick Blenkey
The cruise yacht Spirit of Norfolk was towed to Colonna’s Shipyard, Sunday, following a fire that broke out June 7 and was not finally declared extinguished until 9.58 a.m., Saturday, June 11.
The fire occurred near Pier 3 at the Norfolk Naval Base, Norfolk. Va., with 104 people on board the vessel, which is managed by City Cruises Norfolk, whose parent company is the Hornblower Group’s City Experiences.
In his initial distress call, at 12.06 p.m. June 7, the captain told the Coast Guard: “I believe I have a fire in the engine room.”
Emergency crews were dispatched in response. The 106 passengers onboard, mostly local elementary school children, were evacuated onto the smaller tour boat Victory Rover, which brought them back to dock at Town Point Park.
Two crew members remained on the ship until it was pushed by tugs to Pier 4 at the naval base, where firefighting and subsequent dewatering efforts continued
No injuries were reported.
The vessel was finally cleared for towage after final surveys and stability asseesments and after divers had inspected the hull and sealed off access points so no more water will enter.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board.
The Unified Command overseeing the response has beem stood down. The Coast Guard will continue to maintain oversight and monitor the vessel, which must request permission from the Captain of the Port for any future movement.
City Cruises will work to determine the final disposition of the Spirit of Norfolk.