Cruise Ship Catches Fire While Crew Was Busy Loading Lifeboats: Situation Was 'Very Hectic'

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The Emerald Princess ocean liner pictured in St. Petersburg, Russia. A fire reportedly broke out on the vessel as it was in dry dock in Victoria, Canada. PETR KOVALEV/AFP/Getty Images

Crew members aboard a docked cruise ship scrambled to put out a fire as they reported hectic scenes Monday.

The blaze started on deck three of the Emerald Princess just after it had left its dry dock in Victoria, Canada, the maritime blog Cruise Law News reported.

The fire had been caused by a dehumidifier inside the bulkhead in the dry storage, and crew from the deck above had to tackle the flames with water.

One crew member, who did not want to be named, told the website the situation was "very hectic because many crew members were on the lifeboat loading team and were not available to be on the fire team to fight the fire."

The crew member noted that the fire had started just as lifeboats were being reloaded onto the vessel after they had been lowered for repairs.

"Imagine looking out to see the lifeboats floating around the ship as we were on fire. It's a very organized job getting the lifeboats raised back up. Having a fire at the same time just made things very difficult."

"I give credits to all involved because there was so much happening at the time with the float out of drydock. The ship's officers and crew kept everything in order," the crew member said.

Another crew member said the fire produced lots of smoke and the technical fire team "dealt with the situation smoothly and effectively." Newsweek has contacted the vessel's operator, Princess Cruises, for comment.

The arrival of the Emerald Princess in Vancouver last month marked the start of what is expected to be a record-setting cruise season which runs until November 1, CBC News reported.

In other cruise ship news, earlier this week, hundreds of vacation-makers were left stranded in Miami as they took hours trying to board the Carnival Magic vessel, operated by Carnival Cruise Lines.

Meanwhile a vessel operated by the same company diverted from its course to rescue 23 people who spent days floating adrift. The crew from the Carnival Fantasy ship rescued the people on board a disabled sport fishing boat around 130 nautical miles off the Yucatán Peninsula.

This story has been corrected to reflect that it was crew, not passengers, who reported hectic scenes after the fire.