CRUISE ship kept from leaving Miami because of safety concerns

Sunday, May 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI (AP) _ The U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday ordered a ship carrying 2,000 passengers and crew to remain in port because of problems with a sprinkler system.

The Norwegian Cruise Line ship, which was scheduled to leave the Port of Miami for a seven-day Caribbean cruise, cannot sail until its sprinkler system is repaired, said Petty Officer Scott Carr.

``We're looking at a systematic failure of a major safety system,'' Carr said.

He said the ship, named the Norway, had repaired holes in the system with about 100 ``soft patches.''

``Yes, it's holding and it's not leaking, but if they have a fire and one of the soft patches breaks, then they lose the entire sprinkler system,'' Carr said.

Passengers were free to leave the ship, but many decided to wait onboard to see if the repairs would be finished soon. They were offered full refunds and 25 percent discounts on their next trip, the cruise line said.

``We're accommodating all the passengers onboard. We've extended a shipboard credit to all of them,'' said Andy Stuart, spokesman for Norwegian Cruise Line. ``We've also opened all the bars so everything's absolutely complimentary.''

The cruise line said it would take the passengers on a tour of Miami attractions Monday if the ship had not departed.

The Norway was scheduled to sail to Grand Cayman; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and the cruise line's private island Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.