Last week's last-second delay of the launch of Explora I has been tied to the use of faulty fire-resistant safety panels, according to the U.K.'s Financial Times.
Two types of panels supplied by Helsinki-based Paroc lost their certification – in May and July, respectively. Fincantieri, the shipyard building Explora I, was notified of the second certification failure just days before it was due to deliver Explora I to Explora Journeys and MSC.
"As soon as the issue with the materials used on EXPLORA I came to light, Explora Journeys, our sister company, made 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," MSC said in a prepared statement. "Explora Journeys is working closely with Fincantieri to deal with the issue swiftly and appropriately to ensure the safety and compliance of the ship."
The supplier also identified several other cruise companies using the panels in ships that are currently in service, including Carnival and Royal Caribbean.
"The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority," a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean told Travel Marke Report. "We are aware of concerns involving a third-party vendor and are working diligently to assess if there are any impacts to our fleet. We will continue to ensure we meet and exceed all safety and compliance standards, and if necessary, will take immediate corrective action."
"The materials and equipment onboard all our ships comply with all necessary certifications, laws and regulations that govern our business," said a Carnival Corporation & plc spokesperson. "That includes the A60 insulation manufactured by Paroc that was installed on one ship in our fleet and passed all required certifications at the time of installation and met all SOLAS standards at delivery.
We are aware Paroc insulation materials failed to meet standards in a recent test. While we have seen no indication of any issues with the insulation actually installed on our ship, we are looking into the test results and discussing them with the relevant flag state regulators and authorities. We will, of course, take whatever action necessary to ensure the continued safety and security of our guests and crew.
It is important to note that our global fleet is equipped with advanced fire detection and suppression systems – with built-in redundancy for added security – to mitigate risk in the unlikely event of a fire."
According to the Financial Times, two ships in the MSC Cruises fleet are affected. One is MSC Euribia, which was delivered by shipyard Chantiers de L'Atlantique in May. The other remains unidentified.
"Other ships afloat with the same insulation tiles are not automatically implicated," the line said. "As a result of this issue, our other shipbuilder Chantiers de l’Atalantique is working with the classification society and maritime industry experts to analyze MSC Euribia in detail and perform testing as needed. We will develop any necessary action plans if required. The safety of our passengers and crew is our utmost priority, and we will continue to ensure that all of our ships have the required safety systems and procedures in place."
"The safety of passengers and crew is the highest priority for the cruise industry and our cruise line members -- as is evident by the industry’s strong safety record and multi-layered approach to regulation, testing, certification, and ongoing inspection of ships, in addition to advanced detection and mitigation systems and highly trained crew onboard," Cruise Lines International Association said in a statement.
"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."
While Norwegian Cruise Line is not named by the supplier of the safety panels, its newest ship Norwegian Viva is being built at a Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.
"The safety, security and well-being of our guests and crew is always our top priority," said a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line. "As such, all ships in our fleet are subject to strict safety regulation and certification standards and undergo regular inspections on an ongoing basis. We are aware of a recent certification issue with insulation panels provided by a third-party supplier and installed on certain cruise ships. At this time, we do not believe any ships in our fleet are impacted, however we are actively working with our shipyards and classification societies to conduct a thorough investigation. We are monitoring this vigilantly and if needed will take swift action to maintain our rigorous safety and compliance standards and ensure the continued protection of our guests and crew."