The central hub of the P&O cruise ship Iona became a scene of commotion before its scheduled departure when a mobility scooter battery malfunctioned and sparked a fire, necessitating an immediate evacuation. Onboard fire detection equipment and the onboard crew were able to take action quickly, preventing any serious damage to the vessel or injury to guests.

If this wasn’t enough, Iona was involved in a maritime rescue later in the voyage, playing a significant role in rescuing several individuals from the frigid waters of the North Sea.

Just before departing on a cruise from Southampton last week, Saturday, October 21, guests in the atrium of the P&O Cruises Excel-class cruise ship Iona witnessed an unexpected fire incident. As one guest made his way around the vessel on his mobility scooter, the device malfunctioned. 

This caused the scooter’s lithium battery to catch fire, sending smoke spiraling around the grand open space that is the epicenter of Iona.

The onboard detection systems and the vessel’s crew members were able to efficiently control and extinguish the blaze, according to a statement from a P&O spokesperson to The Mirror.

The P&O representative clarified: “There was a fire in Iona’s atrium which was caused by a lithium battery on a mobility scooter. Thankfully it was swiftly extinguished by our fire detection systems.”

Fire on P&O Iona (Credit: Antonio Magtoto Lacson)

This unforeseen event occurred in the late afternoon, noted an anonymous guest aboard the ship. “The fire was a mobility scooter lithium battery. The atrium had to be evacuated, and crew worked hard to get everything back to normal. The battery was left in Southampton. It was more smoke than a fire.”

A video has been shared online, which shows several guests in the Atrium when a sudden spark emerged from the deck above, followed by screams and the activation of smoke alarms. Amidst the action, an older man with crutches was assisted by several individuals. 

Soon after the fire broke out, guests were evacuated as crew members ensured everyone was safe and accounted for. However, that wasn’t the only action guests onboard Iona experienced this past week. Just a few days later, the vessel found itself in the middle of a much more severe situation.

Iona‘s cruise took another dramatic turn when, in the early hours of Tuesday, the 180,000 gross tons cruise ship responded to a maritime distress signal.

Unfortunately, the Verity sank, leaving one crew member dead, four missing, and two rescued. As she was near the accident, Iona participated in the search operations. The crew of Iona was widely praised for their composure and decisive action during the regrettable incidents with the Verity and the Polesie. 

Following the rescue operations, Iona was able to continue its cruise, sailing to Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Zeebrugge in Belgium, with a scheduled return to Southampton on October 28.

Iona‘s next cruise will head south to Portugal and Spain, visiting Vigo, Malaga, Alicante, Barcelona, Valencia, and Cadiz, Spain, and Lisbon, Portugal, returning to Southampton on November 11. Unlike her sistership Arvia, which has been built with warmer weather in mind, Iona will stay in Europe during the winter, sailing to Western Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Canary Islands.

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