Speaking on behalf of the government, minister Michael told OBSERVER , “We are deeply saddened by this news and our thoughts and prayers are with those who have so tragically lost loved ones at this difficult time.”
He noted that the ship is very familiar to Antigua & Barbuda, having called as recently as last week, “so the loss is very personal, not just to our colleagues in St Lucia, and Oceania Cruises, but to the entire Caribbean Cruise shipping family.”
The minister noted that the incident has challenged local authorities to revisit emergency response agencies and it is critical for the government and other stakeholders to “adequately ensure that our cruise facilities in Antigua & Barbuda are well prepared to deal with similar types of emergencies.”
Condolences were also expressed by Chief Executive Officer of the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority, Colin C James.
James noted the cruise community in the Caribbean is a “very closely knit” one and any tragedy suffered is felt throughout the industry.
The online November/December itinerary for the Oceania showed it stopped in Antigua on November 28 and again on December 2.
Following the incident in St Lucia, Oceania issued a public statement.
It states, “At approximately 8:30 am (Thursday) while in St Lucia, experienced a fire in the engine room. The fire was contained to the engine room and extinguished. All guests are safe and have disembarked the vessel.
“We are deeply saddened to learn that two contractors and one crew member did not survive. We extend our deepest condolences to their families during this very difficult time.”
As a result of the incident, the remainder of the cruise was cancelled. The company said arrangements were being made yesterday for the guests and crew to be accommodated at hotels in St Lucia until transportation to Miami is arranged.
was on a 10-day cruise, which departed San Juan, Puerto Rico, on December 7, 2014 and was scheduled to arrive in Miami on December 17, 2014.