Police, coast guard begin inspection of heavily damaged Diamond Princess

Kyodo

Police and the Japan Coast Guard inspected a 113,000-ton passenger liner Friday that was severely damaged by a fire earlier in the week at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.’s Nagasaki shipyard.

The Nagasaki City Fire Department and the Nagasaki Labor Standards Supervision Office took part in the inspection.

The blaze broke out at around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday aboard the Diamond Princess and gutted some 51,000 sq. meters of the vessel’s interior before firefighters managed to extinguish the fire 36 hours later.

The inspection is expected to take several days, the fire department said, because of the scale of the destruction and the complicated structure of the ship.

According to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries officials, the fire started in the forward part of the fifth deck, which was to house an art gallery and passenger cabins. The ship, whose water sprinkler system has yet to be installed, has 14 decks.

The fire soon spread to the upper decks after workers inside the ship were unable to extinguish the flames. At one point, firefighters were forced to evacuate the vessel.

Between 60 percent and 70 percent of the ship was damaged, the officials said.

The Diamond Princess, 290 meters long and 41.5 meters wide, will accommodate 3,100 passengers, making it one of the world’s largest luxury liners.

All of the estimated 1,000 workers who were aboard the ship when the fire broke out escaped unhurt.