MSC, CLIA Respond to Report of ‘Fire Hazard’ on Delayed Explora I

The parent company of Explora Journeys, as well as industry organization CLIA, were quick to dash water on what they’re calling sensationalistic, overstated reports in the Financial Times about unsafe fire panels being the cause of the delay in delivering Explora I.

In a story published Friday, 07JUL, FT dramatically reported that the delay in delivering MSC’s new luxury small-ship Explora I was as a result of “faulty fire-resistant panels," with the news sending "shockwaves across the shipbuilding industry after it emerged dozens of other ships at sea were also affected.”

According the the FT, the Finnish supplier Paroc lost safety certification on one type of fire panel, forcing it to recall them - including on the Explora I, just a day before it was due to be delivered.

It also reported that nearly 4 dozen other ships were similarly affected - sounding an alarm that implied a global cruise safety crisis.

Cool Your Jets

However, over the weekend, both the parent company of Explora Journeys as well as the Cruise Line Industry Association dampened any inflamed sense of panic.

Only one other affected ship was named - the MSC Euribia.

MSC, in a response to a request for comment by Cruise Week, said: “As soon as the issue with the materials used on EXPLORA I came to light, Explora Journeys, our sister company, took the responsible decision not to take delivery of the ship, even though this meant that the first sailing was cancelled, to ensure that the ship will have the appropriate certifications when she comes into service.”

The cruise line is working with the shipyard to ensure the ship complies with safety standards.

In the case of Euribia - or any unnamed MSC ship that may be affected -  the company pointed out that all ships in its fleet undergo frequent inspection and testing to ensure they meet “stringent” regulations.

With regards to Euribia specifically, it says the shipbuilder, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, “is working with the classification society and maritime industry experts to analyze the situation for MSC Euribia in detail and performing the necessary tests, and we will then develop any necessary action plans if required.”

Industry giant Carnival Corp reportedly told Cruise Radio that they only know of one affected ship and that the fire panels on it “passed all required certifications at the time of installation.”

Furthermore, in contrast to the FT’s claim that “"Replacing all the panels, fitted to both the floors and walls, would require huge work," Cruise Week reports that “the cruise industry's initial response to the news indicates a very manageable situation,” where, even if replacements are required, they can be handled during routine wet docks, certainly not expensive and logistically-challenging drydocks.

Other cruise lines obviously felt so mildly affected they didn’t feel the need to defend the safety of their ships. Instead, they directed media to CLIA, which issued a bland statement that:

"Our cruise line members are confident that the responsible parties are taking all steps to determine and resolve any issues, and they remain vigilant in monitoring of all safety systems to degrees that often exceed that of other industries and maritime requirements."

Sniff Test: Overreaction

Overall, the FT’s report smells of an unusual case of sensationalism for the reputable publication, and the travel trade can reassure any concerned clients of the continued safety of cruising.

Lynn Elmhirst


With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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