Three dead in cruise ship fire; passengers evacuated safely

A crew member and two contractors died Thursday in a shipboard fire aboard the Oceania Insignia.

All passengers were safely evacuated, according to a statement from the cruise line. The 684-passenger ship was in port in St. Lucia at the time as part of a 10-day itinerary that departed San Juan Dec. 7 and was due to arrive in Miami Dec. 17. About 650 passengers were on board at the time, said a cruise line spokesperson.

“The fire was contained to the engine room and extinguished,” said the statement. “All guests are safe and have disembarked the vessel.” The remainder of the cruise has been cancelled.

Built in 1998, the Insignia underwent a $50 million refurbishment earlier this year. Miami-based Norweigan Cruise Line Holdings acquired former Oceania parent Prestige Cruises International earlier this fall for $3.025 billion.

Jane Wooldridge