The US Coast Guard is scheduled to conduct a formal hearing starting January 26, in Virginia Beach to consider evidence related to the fire and total constructive loss of the passenger vessel Spirit of Norfolk.
he hearing will examine all aspects of the fire aboard Spirit of Norfolk and subsequent total constructive loss including, but not limited to, pre-accident historical events, regulatory compliance, crewmember duties and qualifications, mechanical systems, emergency response, and Coast Guard oversight of the vessel.
The passenger vessel Spirit of Norfolk was underway in the Elizabeth River for a two-hour lunch cruise June 7, 2022. At approximately noon, the captain reported a fire in the engine room. Coast Guard, local fire departments, and numerous vessels responded to assist evacuating the passengers off the vessel and with firefighting efforts.
All passengers and crew safely disembarked. The Spirit of Norfolk was towed to nearby Norfolk Naval Station where firefighting crews worked to put out the fire. The fire was fully extinguished June 11 and towed to Colonna’s Shipyard June 12.
Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath, commander of the Fifth Coast Guard District, ordered a formal investigation to determine causal factors that led to the incident, examine the response, and identify any other information that can improve maritime safety in the future.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is conducting a concurrent investigation into the incident and joins the Coast Guard in this fact-finding phase. The NTSB will analyze the facts to prepare and publish a separate report.