Spirit of Norfolk recovered after burning for 4 days

The Hampton Roads area’s iconic cruise ship, The Spirit of Norfolk was finally towed to a shipyard, where investigators will try to determine the cause of the fire which broke out with 89 children on board.

The Coast Guard said Sunday afternoon that salvage crews had completed towing the The Spirit of Norfolk at the Colonna shipyard. Then the USCG and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate while he’s on the run.

Fortunately, there was no noticeable pollution as a result of the fire. The flames broke out on Tuesday June 7 around noon in the engine room of the boat, which offers dinner cruises and excursions for private and school groups.

As bay bulletin reported, all 108 people on board, including an excursion of 89 children, were able to get off the boat safely thanks to a major effort by the crew, Naval Station Norfolk, the Coast Guard and the Services fire of all the towns of Hampton Roads.

Once it was moved to a pier at Naval Station Norfolk, it took almost four days for the fire to be fully extinguished. The boat was still smoldering and crews had to remain on site 24 hours a day to ensure the fire did not rekindle.

Because it took so much water and foam to put out the fire, the The Spirit of Norfolk had to be dewatered using a pump and a barge to store the contaminated water.

Once the crews were able to board safely and verify that the fire was completely extinguished, two boats towed the vessel to the dockyard, escorted by the Coast Guard.

The Spirit of Norfolk must seek permission from the Harbor Master for any future movement. City Cruises is still deciding what happens to the cruise ship from here.

-Meg Walburn Viviano

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