The fire aboard Carnival's Ecstasy -- gushing black smoke into the
sky off Miami -- proved to be a tedious melodrama for millions of
Thanks to the efforts of the crew and fireboat firefighters, the
blaze was confined to the mooring deck in the stern without
damaging the ship extensively and without causing loss of life or
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating
whether instructions from the crew were clear enough, whether a
spark from a welder's torch, as Carnival says, caused the blaze and
whether the crew performed properly in fighting the fire.
The earliest the ship is expected to be back in service is Sept.
11. The damage to the market -- to the dreams of Caribbean
vacationers -- and the impact on potential cruisers may take longer
to fix. Pending repairs, Carnival now has canceled 15 sailings.
Fires at sea present immense challenges. This one was almost out
of reach of the crews' firefighting equipment. It is reassuring
that this blaze, fed by nylon rope, eventually would have burned
Whatever else might be said about this one, it seemed to prove
that these newer class ships -- which meet the latest safety-at-sea
standards -- are capable of containing fires. That was plain enough
for the millions of TV viewers. If further safety lessons are
forthcoming, so much the better.
ARC has made an astute move in recruiting Gary Yallelus, a
detective for 25 years in the Miami-Dade Police Department, now
retired, to help combat agency ticket thefts in the Midwest.
Yallelus, who knows more about the big picture of these
organized crimes than anyone else and who has been sympathetic to
agents, has been retained for 90 days to visit agencies in Illinois
and surrounding states to check whether their security is up to
ARC has posted his photo on its Web site so agents will
recognize him. Having issued videos, held seminars and sent out
bulletins, ARC is counting on Yallelus personally to help agents
recognize breaches in their security that could make them a