By Youri Kemp
Caribbean News Now associate managing editor
FREEPORT, Bahamas — After a crane crashed into Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas on Monday afternoon in the port of Freeport, Grand Bahama, it is expected that the vessel will now remain in dry dock for additional repairs.
No passengers were onboard the Oasis of the Seas at the time and no passenger injured around the ship, but it is reported that several workers were injured in the accident but not seriously and have received medical treatment.
The Oasis of the Seas, which once held the record for the world’s largest cruise ship back in 2009, but has now been surpassed by three other Royal Caribbean Cruise liners, was placed in dry dock earlier this year in order for it to receive new upgrades and features that are found on some of Royal Caribbean’s newer ships.
As a result of the accident, Royal Caribbean has cancelled three sail dates for the Oasis of the Seas in April. In a tweet to passenger who is currently booked in April but was wondering what will happen to their cruise and why haven’t they received an email notification on the issue, Royal Caribbean replied: “We’ve had to cancel the sailings departing on April 7, 14 and 21. If you’re on any of these sailings and booked directly with us, you’ll receive an email soon with more details.”
Also through Royal Caribbean’s Twitter account the company has been stating that they are giving refunds on cruise fares, a Future Cruise Certificate in the value of 100 percent of the cruise fare paid and air change fees up to $200 per guest for domestic air and up to $400 per person for international air.
There has been no word on what caused the crash up to this time from authorities or from Royal Caribbean.
This accident also marks one of a series of unfortunate accidents in and around Royal Caribbean cruise ships and tour operators contracted by them to deliver experiences to their passengers over the last two years that was chronicled here in Caribbean News Now just last month.
It may still be too early to tell who is liable for the damage to the Oasis of the Seas, the Freeport dock and surrounding area of the persons injured. But for now persons are being cared for and investigators and other connected persons are deeply involved.
This also marks another milestone in the Royal Caribbean and Bahamas government investment relationship as just last week the Royal Caribbean in partnership with the ITM Group out of Mexico, has signed a letter of intent to purchase and operate the troubled Grand Lucayan Resort, Grand Bahama’s biggest resort in the city of Freeport, that the government of The Bahamas had previously purchased from the Grand Bahama Port Authority, which is owned by global port management giant, Hutcheson Whampoa.
There is also no definitive word yet on how long will the Oasis of the Seas be off the cruise schedule for sailing, but the closest dates of early to mid-April have definitely been taken off the calendar.