Cruise ship fires since 1979

Reported incidents of fire on passenger ships

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Passenger Ship Fires since 1979

The Morro Castle Ship
The Morro Castle 1934

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Ship Prefix Index

MV = motor vessel RMS = royal mail ship RV = research vessel SV = sailing vessel
MS = motor ship FV = fishing vessel SS = steam ship  


Maritime incidents/accidents involving injuries and/or fatalities rarely happen. And considering the number of passenger ships sailing worldwide, it's highly unlikely you will experience any problems during your cruise. The following examples are provided to help cruisers recognize the issues concerning cruise ship safety.

Westerdam (2014) Oceania Insignia (2014)
Carnival Triumph (2013) Grandeur of the Seas (2013)
Allure of the Seas (2012) Azamara Quest (2012)
Costa Allegra (2012) Romantica (1997)
MS Nordlys (2011) Celebration (1995)
Carnival Splendor (2010) Regency Star (1995)
Deutschland Achille Lauro (1994)
Zenith (2009) MS Seaward (1992)
Royal Princess (2009) Costa Romatica Pallas Athena (1992)
Sea Wind (2008) Sovereign of the Seas (1991)
Queen of the West Pegasus (1991)
Calypso (2006) Fairstar (1990)
Star Princess (2006) Regent Star (1990)
Infinity (2006) Crystal Harmony (1990)
Majesty of the Seas(2005) Song of America (1988)
SS Norway (2003) Scandinavian Star (1988)
Enchantment of the Seas (1999) Scandinavian Sun (1984)
Sun Vista (1999) Scandinavian Sea (1984)
SS Norway (1999) SS Norway(1982)
Carnival Ecstasy (1998) Prinsendam (1980)
Vistaford (1997) Angelina Lauro (1979)
  Skyward (1979)






















Norman Atlantic

December 28, 2014

A fire broke out on the car deck of the Norman Atlantic while the ferry was traveling from the Greek port of Patras to Ancona in Italy. 10 people have been confirmed dead, 98 are still unaccounted for after the disaster. The cause of the fire was under investigation. The ferry is owned by Visemar Di Navigazione SRL and registered in Italy.

Oceania Insignia

December 11, 2014

Three persons died following an engine room fire on board the Oceania Insignia, which was berthed in the Castries harbor.  A crew member and two contractors lost their lives, no passengers were injured. The cruise was cancelled and passengers were flown home to Miami.

ms Westerdam

June 28, 2014

A small fire broke out on the Westerdam last night after leaving Seattle. Holland America Line posted the following statement on their website:

"There has been a small fire in one of the boiler rooms onboard ms Westerdam as she sailed from Seattle earlier this evening which was quickly extinguished. All guests and crew are safe. Out of an abundance of caution and in coordination with the United States Coast Guard the ship has returned to Seattle. The ship is fully operational and there has been no impact on guest services. It is anticipated that the ship will depart again once the assessments are competed and continue her voyage to Alaska.

The 82,348-ton Westerdam was beginning a 7-day Alaska cruise that departed Saturday afternoon. The situation is being evaluated and more information will be provided as it becomes available. There are 2,086 guests and 798 crew onboard."

Note: The Westerdam was cleared by the US Coast Guard.



Grandeur of the Seas

May 27, 2013
grandeur photo courtesy of Photo:

Grandeur of the Seas was en route to CocoCay, The Bahamas, when the ship experienced a fire in the mooring area in the aft of the ship at approximately 2:50 a.m. ET. The fire was extinguished at 4:58 a.m. and the ship was redirected to Freeport for further evaluation. In an abundance of caution, the Captain deemed it necessary to muster all guests to their assembly stations during the incident. All 2,224 guests and 796 crew have been accounted for.

Carnival Triumph

Posted February 11, 2013

Source: Carnival Cruise Lines -- This morning the cruise ship Carnival Triumph experienced an engine room fire while the vessel was sailing approximately 150 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The ship’s automatic fire extinguishing systems activated and the fire was contained to the aft engine room. At this time, the fire is fully extinguished. There were no casualties or injuries to guests or crew. All appropriate authorities including U.S. Coast Guard have been notified.

The vessel is currently without propulsion and the ship is operating on emergency generator power. The ship's technical crew has determined the vessel will need to be towed to port. A tugboat is en route to the ship's location and will tow the vessel to Progreso, Mexico, which is the closest port to the ship’s current location. This will enable us to disembark guests and get them home as quickly as possible. The ship is expected to arrive in Progreso Wednesday afternoon and guests will be flown from there back to the U.S.

There are 3,143 guests and 1,086 crew on board. Guests are being provided with food and refreshments. Another Carnival ship, the Carnival Elation, is currently on scene and transferring additional food and beverage provisions to the Carnival Triumph.

We have contacted the designated emergency contacts for all guests presently on board Carnival Triumph. Concerned family and loved ones of guests and crew may call 888.290.5095 or 305.406.5534.

All guests on the current Carnival Triumph voyage will receive a full refund of the cruise, along with transportation expenses. In addition, they will receive a future cruise credit equal to the amount paid for this voyage, as well as reimbursement of all shipboard purchases during the voyage, with the exception of gift shop and casino charges.

The next two voyages of Carnival Triumph, scheduled to depart Monday, February 11 and Saturday, February 16 are being cancelled. Guests scheduled to sail on either of those voyages will receive a full refund, reimbursement for non-refundable travel expenses and a 25 percent discount on a future three to five-day cruise. Carnival is in contact with impacted guests to advise them of the situation.

The current Carnival Triumph voyage departed Galveston, Texas on Thursday, February 7 and was scheduled to return on Monday, Feb. 11.


Allure of the Seas Small Engine Room Fire

Posted April 21, 2012

Nervous passengers aboard the Allure of the Seas reported seeing black smoke from the stacks as the ship sailed yesterday to Port Everglades from St. Maarten. The incident was reported today on the Allure of the Seas Blog:

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, reported a “fire of short duration in the engine room,” a spokeswoman said the ship was sailing from St. Maarten to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale when an engine fire broke out at 7:45 pm on Friday, said spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez. “The ship’s high fog system was immediately activated, which contained and extinguished the fire.” No passengers or crew members were injured and the ship sailed to Port Everglades without any assistance. The cruise scheduled to return on Sunday.

Azamara Quest (Azamara Club Cruises) Engine Room Fire

Update: March 31, 2012 10:00 a.m. EDT

Engineers onboard Azamara Quest have been able to restore propulsion to the ship

Azamara Quest is now sailing directly to Sandakan (Sabah), Malaysia at between three to six knots. Based on this speed, the ship will arrive in Sandakan within 24 to 48 hours. The CEO of Azamara Club Cruises will be flying to Sandakan to meet with Azamara Quest guests and crew personally. Five crew members onboard the ship suffered smoke inhalation during the fire and are being treated at the medical facility onboard the ship.

The remainder of the voyage has been cancelled. Stay tuned for an update on Monday, April 2 by Azamara regarding future sailings.

Posted March 30, 2012

According to a statement by Azamara Club Cruises, on Friday, March 30, at approximately 8:19 p.m. ship time, Azamara Quest experienced a fire in the engine room. The fire was contained to the engine room and was quickly extinguished. There were no injuries of guests reported and the atmosphere aboard is calm. However, in an abundance of caution, the Captain initially mustered all guests at their assembly stations. The ship is currently running on generator power until full power can be restored to the engine room.

Azamara Quest is currently on a 17-night sailing that departed Hong Kong, China, on Monday, March 26, and includes port calls to Manila, Philippines; Sandakan (Sabah), Malaysia; Palapo (Sulawesi), Benoa (Bali), Semarang and Komodo, Indonesia and concludes in Singapore on Thursday, April 12.

Costa Allegra (Costa Cruises) Engine Room Fire

Posted February 27, 2012

A fire broke out in the generator room of the Costa Allegra as the vessel sailed more than 200 miles southwest of the Seychelles, and about 20 miles from Alphonse Island in the Southern Indian Ocean.

The crew was able to extinguish the fire, and no injuries were reported. The fire damaged the generators and the ship is adrift. About 600 passengers and 400 crew are onboard the ship.  A distress call was sent out and the Italian Coast Guard is helping to coordinate the effort. Tug boats and commercial vessels in the area have been summoned to help. 



MS Nordlys (Hurtigruten)

A fire broke out in the engine room of the cruise ship on September 15, 2011 with 207 passengers onboard.  The ship was sailing from Bergen, Norway to the town of Kirkenes when the fire started.  Passengers were safely evacuated from the ship at the port of Alesund, Norway. Two crew members reportedly were killed and nine others were taken to the hospital for treatment.

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Carnival Splendor

On November 8, 2010 at approximately 6 am Monday morning (U.S. Pacific Standard Time) while sailing off the coast of Mexico, a fire was detected in the aft engine room, cutting all power aboard the cruise ship Carnival Splendor. 

The crew was unable to restore power to the engines, and the ship was towed by tugboat to San Diego. Without power for air conditioning and refrigeration, passengers were fed rations delivered via U.S. Navy helicopters from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Splendor was escorted by, and received aid and security assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau. The reasons for the total power loss were unclear and under investigation.

 According to Carnival president, Gerry Cahill, a "crankcase split, and that's what caused the fire", adding it was isolated to the aft generator room. The fire was extinguished by the afternoon. Nearly 4,500 passengers and crew members were on board at the time. There were no injuries to guests or crew. 


Deutschland (Peter Deilmann Cruises)

On May 23, 2010 when the ship was at quay in Eidfjord in Norway, it was reported that a fire had broken out in the engine room. The 608 passengers were evacuated safely and 205 crew stayed onboard to help battle the fire.  Damage was contained to an isolated area and limited with the help of fire doors. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

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Costa Romantica (Costa Cruises)

On Wednesday, 25 February 2009, a small fire erupted in the engines and one of the electric generators of Costa Romantica off the coast of Uruguay, about 10 km from the city of Punta del Este. After the incident, she was stalled for more than 24 hours and for a long period there was no electricity or running water. Costa Romantica was partially repaired and was able to sail to approximately 1 km from the coast where she was then evacuated by landing ships.

Zenith (Pullmantur Cruises)

A fire broke out on Pullmantur Cruises' Zenith (formerly operated by Celebrity Cruises) August 18th while it was docked in Stockholm. Two crew members were treated for smoke inhalation. No other injuries reported.  Crew members welding work on deck is the suspected cause of the fire.

Royal Princess (Princess Cruises)

At approximately 8:10 pm local time on June 18th, an engine room fire broke out aboard Royal Princess, as the ship was departing Port Said, Egypt. Fire teams were deployed, and passengers were mustered to their emergency stations. No injuries reported. The impact of the fire was extensive and the ship was moved to a shipyard for repairs.

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Sea Wind (part of the Estonian-owned Tallink Silja Cargo fleet)

Helicopters evacuated passengers from the Sea Wind in the Baltic Sea early Tuesday after a fire broke out in the engine room. The Sea Wind, , was en route from the southwestern Finnish port of Turku to Stockholm, Sweden, when a fire broke out in the engine room at about 2:40 a.m. (0040 GMT).  All 11 passengers were flown to the nearby port of Mariehamn in the Aland Islands, while the 28 crew members put out the fire. No injuries were reported however the ferry suffered severe fire damage.

Queen of the West (Majestic Cruises)

Engine room Fire On Board U.S. Small Passenger Vessel Queen of the West Columbia River, near Rufus, Oregon April 8, 2008. NTSB Report (PDF)

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Calypso (Louis Cruise Lines)

Fire broke out on the starboard engine. Evacuation was not necessary and the ship was towed to Southampton where passengers disembarked.

Star Princess (Princess Cruises)

A major fire broke out while at sea en route to Grand Cayman. 1 passenger died and 9 passengers were injured due to smoke inhalation. About 150 cabins located in the middle of the ship were severely damaged or totally destroyed.  The fire is suspected to have started from a cigarette that came from an upper balcony. Maritime Safety Report in PDF Format including photos.

Infinity (Celebrity)

A passenger reported an incident fire in cabin # 7067 that caused major damage to the stateroom.

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Majesty of the Seas (RCI)

Galley fire in the Windjammer Cafe. Major damage contained to the Cafe. No injuries. Cruise continued.

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S/S Norway (NCL)

At 0637 on May 25, 2003, the Bahamas-registered passenger vessel S/S Norway (figure 1), with 911 crewmembers and 2,135 passengers on board, suffered a boiler rupture in the aft boiler room. The accident occurred about an hour after the vessel had moored in Miami, Florida, at the end of a 7-day Caribbean cruise. As a result of the accident, 8 crewmembers sustained fatal injuries, 10 suffered serious injuries, and 7 received minor injuries. No passengers were injured.  NTSB Report (PDF)

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Enchantment of the Seas (RCI)

Engine fire and failure 60 miles from St. Thomas. Next 6 cruises cancelled for repairs

Sun Vista (Sun Cruises)

The ship suffered an engine room fire while sailing the Strait of Malacca (May 20). An electrical spark ignited a fire in the engine room and the fire could not be contained. All passengers and crew were evacuated from the ship and eventually rescued by a passing freighter hours later.  Read the full story at

Norway (NCL)

Fire in turbocharger room while in Barcelona. Cruises cancelled for repairs.

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Carnival Ecstasy 

On the afternoon of July 20, 1998, MS Ecstasy had departed the Port of Miami, Florida, en route to Key West, Florida, with 2,565 passengers and 916 crewmembers on board when a fire started in the main laundry shortly after 1700. The fire migrated through the ventilation system to the aft mooring deck where mooring lines ignited, creating intense heat and large amounts of smoke. As the Ecstasy was attempting to reach an anchorage north of the Miami sea buoy, the vessel lost propulsion power and steering and began to drift. The master then radioed the U.S. Coast Guard for assistance. A total of six tugboats responded to help fight the fire and to tow the Ecstasy. The fire was brought under control by onboard firefighters and was officially declared extinguished about 2109. Fourteen crewmembers and eight passengers suffered minor injuries. One passenger who required medical treatment as a result of a pre-existing condition was categorized as a serious injury victim because of the length of her hospital stay. Carnival Corporation, Inc., the owner of the Ecstasy, estimated that losses from the fire and associated damages exceeded $17 million.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of fire aboard the Ecstasy was the unauthorized welding by crewmembers in the main laundry that ignited a large accumulation of lint in the ventilation system and the failure of Carnival Cruise Lines to maintain the laundry exhaust ducts in a fire-safe condition. Contributing to the extensive fire damage on the ship was the lack of an automatic fire suppression system on the aft mooring deck and the lack of an automatic means of mitigating the spread of smoke and fire through the ventilation ducts. Full NTSB Report.

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Vistaford (Cunard)

A fire in the laundry room while traveling the Straits of Magellan. The Ship was disabled for 2 days and limped to Freeport 20 miles away. 1 crew member died.  NTSB Report PDF

Romantica (New Paradise)

Ship fire 10 miles off Cypress. The ship was evacuated and considered a total loss. No injuries.

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Celebration (Carnival)

Engine room fire when the ship was 370 miles south of Miami sailing off Jamaica. The ship was adrift for 2 days running on auxiliary power. Passengers were eventually transferred to the Ecstasy.

Regency Star (Regency)

Engine room fire while in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Passengers were transferred to HAL's Rotterdam.

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Achille Lauro (MSC Starlauro)

The Achille Lauro was converted to a cruise ship in early 1972, during which time she suffered a disastrous fire. Another onboard fire in 1981 took her out of service for a time. She was laid up in Tenerife when the Lauro Lines went bankrupt in 1982. Reflagged in 1987 when the Lauro Line was taken over by the Mediterranean Shipping Company. On November 30, 1994, she caught fire off the coast of Somalia while enroute to South Africa. Abandoned, the vessel sank on December 2 in the Indian Ocean. 4 died and 8 injured.

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MS Seaward/Reflagged the Norwegian Sea (1998) NCL 

Details below provided by passenger Bob L. from Ohio

August 17, 1992 

Without going into all of the (still vivid) details, within a half an hour's time, everyone was ushered on to deck 6 to their muster stations with or without life jackets from their rooms. Smoke was chimneying up thru the grand staircase. Attendants had climbed the ladders behind all of us up to each lifeboat, hands poised on every lever at the ready and waiting for an order to drop the boats...which thankfully never came. As I was a firefighter at the time, i was very intrigued by the whole process. I discovered later that 3 fire teams of 7 men per team (21 firefighters) were trying to find the seat of the fire in the laundry facility, but couldn't see because of the smoke....understandable. they eventually extinguished it...obviously. At 10:30, a cutter from Gitmo pulled along side of us...we were on the back side of Cuba. We continued with the cruise, but could not launder anything. Our first port wasn't until Wednesday morning in Ocho Rios.

Pallas Athena (Epirotiki)

Fire while berthed in Piraeus. Ship reported to be a total loss.

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Sovereign of the Seas (RCI)

There was a fire in the lounge while docked in San Juan. The ship was evacuated until the all clear was given and the cruise continued.  For further clarification, we received the following comment on 2/14/13 from a passenger who was onboard the Sovereign of the Seas at the time of the incident.  

"My husband and I were on the 1991 sovereign of the seas cruise that caught fire. They did not allow the cruise to continue on, we never made it to next port, but were returned to Miami as soon as the coast guard considered it seaworthy

...the entire multimillion dollar show room was destroyed...smoke extended into the casino and passengers could smell the acrid smoke of the burning carpet, acoustic ceilings and the theater seating.

Our saving grace was we were docked."

CG  Thank you for the feedback!

Pegasus (Epirotiki)

Fire while berthed in Venice, Italy. Ship reported to be a total loss.

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Fairstar (Simtar)

Engine room fire, one crew member dies. The ship sailed under it's own power to the next port.

Regent Star (Regency)

The ship had a fire and grounded while approaching Philadelphia. The ship was evacuated.

Scandinavian Star (SeaEscape)

During a crossing from Norway to Denmark, the passenger ferry experienced a deadly fire on three passengers decks killing more than 150 passengers, most of them Norwegians. Flammable materials, malfunctioning fire doors, ventilation system cut-off, crew miscommunication and a lack of crew fire training resulted in the deaths of 158 passengers (about  one third of the people on board). The subsequent investigation determined the fire was arson.

Crystal Harmony (Crystal)

During the Crystal Harmony's maiden voyage in the South American/Caribbean waters, the ship caught fire due to water entering her engine system. The Crystal Harmony drifted afloat for three days - passengers were safely disembarked in Panama and the vessel was towed to Curacao for repairs. The ship sailed for Crystal Cruises until she was sold to parent company, Nippon Yusen Kaisha in 2005.

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Scandinavian Star (SeaEscape)

A fire started in the engine room when the ship was about 50 nautical miles (90 km) northeast of Cancun, Mexico. The ship was carrying 439 passengers and 268 crew members. The ship lost power and her fire fighting oxygen system malfunctioned (it would have let the firefighters breathe while fighting the fire). The inability of the crew members to communicate with each other and with passengers was a serious concern and created confusion during the fire fighting and evacuation activities.

Song of America (RCCL)

The Song of America was forced to cut short a Caribbean cruise when an engine-room fire broke out after the ship left Cozumel, Mexico. Passengers were called to muster while crew members fought the blaze. According to RCCL, the crew worked about 45-minutes to extinguish the fire. The ship sailed back to Cozumel for supplies, cancelled remaining port calls and sailed home to Miami. Passengers were offered a free cruise or full refund. There were no injuries but the fire caused more than a million dollars worth of damage.


Scandinavian Sun ( SeaEscape)

A fire broke out as the ship was docking in Miami. A passenger and a crew member died from smoke inhalation and 31 people were injured. The NTSB investigation found that a loose pipe fitting in the engine room was the cause of the fire. Safety equipment malfunctions contributed to the deaths according to the report.

Scandinavian Sea ( SeaEscape)

The Scandinavian Sea caught fire off Port Canaveral. The fire damaged five decks, but none of the passengers was seriously injured. Passengers were evacuated and the crew extinguished the fire after about 45-minutes. The ship was declared a total loss and sold through the cruise line`s insurance company.

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Norway (NCL)

Boiler room fire -  no injuries. 7 cruises cancelled while the ship was being repaired.


Prinsendam (HAL)

The Prinsendam was traveling the Gulf of Alaska about 140 miles from the Alaska coast near Yakutat, Alaska on Oct 4, 1980. At approximately 1:00 a.m. local time, a fire broke out in the engine room and the Captain declared the fire out of control about an hour later. Passengers were disembarked to life boats at approximately  6:00 a.m.  A nearby supertanker, Williamsburgh, arrived at approximately 7:45 a.m. and assisted with the rescue of passengers and crew from life boats.  A United States Coast Guard ship arrived in the mid-afternoon to transfer those who needed immediate medical treatment to an Alaskan hospital. Later in the evening the Coast Guard Cutter, Mellon arrived and dispatched a team to provide medical assistance onboard the Williamsburgh. No deaths or serious injuries and all passengers and crew from the Prinsendam accounted for.  The Prinsendam capsized and sank on October 11, 1980.

Mathieu J. Oosterwijk - 2nd Officer PRINSENDAM 1980, currently residing in Scotland, UK, helped contribute to the above narrative.



Angelina Lauro (Starlauro)

A fire broke out in the aft crew galley, and rapidly spread forward through the restaurants and passenger accommodations (Mar 30th). Even though the well-trained crew did everything possible to contain the fire, the task was too great and soon flames had reached the top decks. Most of the passengers and crew were ashore when the fire broke out, and all those on board were evacuated safely. It took four days for port firefighters to put the fire out, during which time onshore firefighters joined the battle. A number of attempts were made to tow the ship away from the wharf; however this failed due to the weight of the water that had been pumped into it. Slowly it ended up sitting on the shallow bottom with a list to port.

Angelina Lauro was declared to be a total loss and remained dockside for some three months. Eventually the German salvage company Eckhardt & Company of Hamburg was awarded the contract to raise it from the bottom and have it refloated. This was achieved on 2 July 1979. Lauro Cruises decided to sell the ship for scrap to Taiwanese ship breakers, and it departed under tow for Asia on 30 July.

Angelina Lauro successfully navigated the Panama Canal and was headed across the Pacific towards Taiwan. However, on September 21, in the mid Pacific, M.S. Angelina Lauro's fire-affected warped hull plates began to take on water, and it began to list slowly. The ship remained afloat for three days, but by the evening of September 23 it was fully on her side. It was not until early the next morning, just before sunrise, that it slowly sank. It was twenty days after the ship's 40-year milestone. USGS Report PDF

Skyward (NCL)

A boiler room fire broke out and the ship engines had to be stopped (Sep 9). Passengers were evacuated to lifeboats and then transferred to the NCL Starward.


Related Links:

Weather Updates
Travel Warnings
Safety Overview
Cruise Ship Fires
Sunken Passenger Ships
Sudden Lists/Rogue Waves
Unclassified Incidents
Incidents 2012
Incidents 2013
Incidents 2014
Incidents 2015

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