The Caribbean Fantasy Fire and Grounding

The cruise ship Caribbean Fantasy caught fire on August 17, 2016 and grounded on the reef just west of the San Juan, Puerto Rico harbor entrance. The response that quickly unfolded over four critical days would become the largest mass rescue operation (MRO) in U.S. waters in 60 years, and would demonstrate the extraordinary unity of effort which has become synonymous with the United States Coast Guard. Enacting the San Juan Annex to District 7’s Mass Rescue Operation Plan, Sector San Juan immediately made notifications to federal, commonwealth, and local agencies. These response efforts were quickly joined by Customs and Border Protection vessels, response boats from Puerto Rico’s marine police units, three local ferries, six tugs, and numerous Good Samaritan vessels in an extraordinary display of solidarity. There were several key drivers of success for this significant incident. They included: the importance of holding regular multi-agency training and exercises; the assignment of a Passenger Vessel Safety Specialist; the criticality of passenger accountability and landing site management; the realities of social media and message management; and the pivotal role of the On-Scene Coordinator. The effective and immediate stand up of the incident command post, the strong relationships between interagency leadership, the proactive posture of every responder, and several other factors aligned circumstances and efforts to achieve the remarkable.


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  • Accession Number: 01768952
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 29 2021 12:11PM