Watch: Fire shoots from Carnival cruise ship funnel

A fire has broken out in the funnel of the Carnival Freedom cruise ship, which was docked at Grand Turk Island in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Dramatic photos and videos taken from the nearby Mardi Gras cruise ship circulated on social media on Thursday morning, as thick black smoke and flames billowed from the ship’s smokestack.

The ship had left Port Canaveral in Brevard County, Florida, on Monday for a five-day cruise.

In a media statement about the fire, which broke out at 8.45am ET on Thursday, a Carnival spokesperson says the flames were quickly extinguished and that no injuries have been reported.

“All guests and crew are safe, and all other ship, hotel, and guest services, along with safety equipment are fully functioning,” the statement says. “While the majority of Carnival Freedom’s guests went ashore in Grand Turk today, Carnival’s technical team completed an initial assessment of the funnel and related features, and the shoreside team completed a plan to get our guests back to Port Canaveral.”

One Twitter user called Jen reported from Freedom how there had been “a little bit of the panic on the boat as we had to put on life jackets and go to muster areas.”

Fellow Twitter user Brian H recalled how: “Shortly after the Carnival Freedom arrived in Port next to us on the Mardi Gras, smoke and flames began to shoot out of the exhaust funnel. The crew quickly started to battle the fire to extinguish it. A partial piece of the funnel fell the the top deck while smoke and ash flew in the wind. Luckily the wind was blowing away from our ship. The crew did a great job as it appears the fire did not spread any further than where it was.”

Meanwhile Twitter user Logan shared a video of a cheeky local bar blasting the Céline Dion classic My Heart Will Go On, best-known as the Titanic theme song, as Freedom guests disembarked nearby.

A total of 2,504 guests and 972 crew were onboard Carnival Freedom at the time of the fire.

The ship Carnival Conquest has been deployed to Grand Turk to transport Freedom‘s guests back to Port Canaveral.

Carnival Freedom

and Mardi Gras guests onshore at Grand Turk. Photo courtesy of Carnival

Once guests are transferred from Carnival Freedom, Carnival says, the ship will proceed to Florida for a repair to the funnel. 

It added that guests would board the new ship on Saturday evening and set sail for the US coast, arriving on Monday morning.

The firm has assured guests who had bought wifi or drinks packages that they would have their package extended on the replacement ship and said that each stateroom would be credited US$100 to spend onboard.

It is not currently known what caused the fire to start.

According to data from CruiseMapper, the ship, which was built in 2007, is 289 metres long and can accommodate 3,581 passengers.