A tragic incident aboard Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam has sadly claimed the lives of two of the ship’s crew members. The incident happened on Friday morning, March 22, while the ship was docked at Half Moon Cay, the cruise line’s private island destination in The Bahamas.

The ship is structurally sound and while there was a delay in leaving Half Moon Cay, all passengers are safe and Nieuw Amsterdam is returning to her homeport of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

What has been described as a “steam leak” aboard Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam has taken the lives of two of the ship’s crew members. The incident happened shortly after 9 a.m. on Friday, March 22, when fire alarms sounded and crew emergency alerts were called over the ship’s intercom.

Guests onboard were startled but remained calm as crew members responded to the emergency. Roughly an hour later, the all clear was sounded and business continued aboard the ship as usual. At no time were guests called to muster stations, and operations onboard were not interrupted.

In the afternoon, however, the ship’s captain announced that the incident had claimed the lives of two crew members, and as an investigation into the incident began, the ship would be slightly delayed in leaving Half Moon Cay, where the ship was visiting since 8 a.m.

In response to Cruise Hive, a Holland America Line spokesperson confirmed the incident and clarified the loss of the two crew members.

“We regret to share that while calling at Half Moon Cay, The Bahamas, there was an incident in an engineering space on board Nieuw Amsterdam, which sadly resulted in the death of two crew members,” the statement read. “The appropriate authorities were notified, and the cause of the incident is currently being investigated.”

Photo Credit: Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock

Personal details, including the names of the crew members, have not been released in order to protect the privacy of their friends and families at this very difficult time. The positions of the crew members is also unknown at this time.

“All of us at Holland America Line are deeply saddened by this incident and our thoughts and prayers are with our team members’ families at this difficult time,” the statement continued. “We are offering counseling services to team members who may have been affected by the incident.”

Various conflicting reports about the incident have surfaced, with different sources calling it an explosion, a fire, and a leak. The announcement made by the ship’s captain described it as a “steam leak” but that could mean many different things.

To be clear, the ship’s onboard systems are not impacted, and the vessel’s safety, navigation, propulsion, and hotel and restaurant operations remain unaffected.

“The safety, security, and welfare of all guests and crew are the company’s absolute priority,” Holland America Line said. Furthermore, the cruise line noted that early reports of a fire were not correct. “Reports that these crew members perished in a shipboard fire are not accurate.”

Holland America Line in Half Moon Cay (Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt)

Nieuw Amsterdam remained at Half Moon Cay approximately three hours later than originally scheduled, and it is possible the ship will be delayed in returning to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, March 23, though not official notice of such a delay has been given.

The 86,700-gross-ton ship is finishing a 7-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary that visited Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and Half Moon Cay. Rough weather on her return to Florida might also impact her arrival, especially since she has already been delayed in departing Half Moon Cay.

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Similarly, guests on the next sailing – a Western Caribbean cruise visiting Half Moon Cay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel – might experience a slight delay to embarkation or departure if further investigation or repairs are necessary before the ship can begin her next voyage. If necessary, the cruise line will reach out to travelers with updates.

Cruise Hive’s thoughts are with all the guests and crew members aboard Nieuw Amsterdam at this sad and difficult time.

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