On October 22, 1970, at the 26th Circumnavigation of the world, between New Zealand and the Fiji Islands, came the most dangerous thing that can happen on a ship: fire. A fire broke out around 3:45 at night and in the Passagierkombüse temporarily out of control. The ship at that time had about 3,000 people on board (crew and passengers).
The alarm of the passengers was given 20 minutes after the fire broke (4.05), after an evacuation action to the lifeboat stations was triggered. The regular sea rescue exercises the evacuation was ordered and organized. Half an hour later, all the passengers were on deck.
To prevent the spread of fire, all ventilation systems such as air conditioning, mechanical ventilation, and air shafts were interrupted. Fire doors were closed, stopped the machine and it was started by two sides to Delete to keep the fire under control.
However, despite the counter-measures could not be avoided that the spread of fire, in particular vertically. Always brand new sites were discovered. The fire ate through a total of 7 decks. Of the galley on the A deck is spread over the first really encapsulated ventilation shafts from the overlying main deck. The starting point on this deck was located amidships pantry. From this chamber surrounding the passenger cabins and the salon were destroyed on the main deck. Also on the decks darrüberliegenden the fire started in a similar manner. In the meantime, the fire was raging out of control and at the same time on several decks.
For a possible evacuation of the ship at times lacked not much. The situation was so threatening that the communication of the task had already been transmitted to the Chandris headquarters in Greece.
At 7.00 in the morning the apex of the spread was exceeded and succeeded more and more contain the fire. For the fire in the galley, an additional heavy pump was procured. Although the fire doors were closed, could not prevent a heavy smoke in the unaffected parts of the Australis.
The resolute and coordinated use of the crew and all available means, it was thanks to them that the fire could be extinguished after more than 9 hours. Helpful were the good fire protection measures, was given to the special value in the design of America.
All passengers had to spend in the immediate vicinity of the assigned lifeboats during these 9 hours on the upper decks.
With the completion of discharge the water was waist-deep in the galley, numerous ceiling inside the ship were black, the outside decks were filled with hundreds of empty fire extinguishers.
The fire destroyed the Passagierkombüse, about 50 cabins and also by the heat of the dance floor of the ballroom. The cause of the fire a defective quick-freezing unit was identified, the overheated half an hour every morning after the commissioning of the galley.
During the two days, after which the deleted fires with much reduced speed (to prevent a reappearance by wind) the heavily damaged Australis still needed to reach Fiji, prevailed on board extremely difficult conditions for passengers. The air conditioning had been canceled and many passengers were forced onto the deck to sleep in the living rooms and foyers, as the temperature and the air quality in the lower decks was unbearable or their cabins were destroyed. Some passengers had got all their good and lost. The crew worked nonstop to it to calm the passengers to inform committed thefts taking advantage of the emergency and to provide for the basic necessities.
Immediately after the fire only three toilets on board functioning and the tap water was too hot to touch it. The first warm dinner was prepared two days after the fire again only as long as it was mainly biscuits and pastries.
When they finally reached the Fiji Islands, the passengers were distributed to food on hotels in Suva.
Photography was prohibited. Who was caught taking pictures, the film was removed.
After an inspection of the damage, it was decided to repair the makeshift Australis site. This is also material and 200 experts from Greece, were alongside local workers of Fiji, flown in several charters, including workers who were employed in Piraeus so just to convert the newly acquired SS Britanis.
About a third of the passengers were flown to their destinations, the rest continued their journey after two weeks on the Australis.
Another notable incident, there were 1968 off South Africa. As a result of an electrical malfunction, broke out in the engine room of a fire that spread through the chimney high above the chimney shaft. The machines were stopped and the ship slowed down in a sharp curve in order not to fan the fire by the wind. The fire alarm was triggered, fire doors closed and all passengers were instructed to gather on deck and not return to their cabins. Due to the unclear situation occurred sporadically to panic. Through the fire protection arrangements families and friends were separated and many passengers were worrying about their loved ones. The situation calm down a bit as it was announced that the P & O liner Canberra was near and the Australis could assist in case of an evacuation.
Many hallways were filled with smoke and closer to the fire source, the ceilings were black. The power went out and the air conditioning had to be turned off. The chimney was black-carbonated from the outside and the passengers gathered on deck watched in horror as deep black acrid smoke billowed from and adjacent to the chimney. After several hours, the fire could be extinguished under a lot of use of the Department and the available resources. There was one death among the crew.
Unpleasant were the effects on the conditions on board, as in many areas of the times listless drifting ship had been pulled through the smoke and heat affected and some cabins were damaged. The air conditioner was turned off and the power supply was switched off or collapsed. The ship was embroidering hot and dark. Many passengers spent the night with the windows open in the lounges on the promenade deck.
Also called the Australis arrived in Cape Town the next day, the situation remained tense.
The captain wanted to keep the trip interruption as short as possible and urged after some repairs to re-start. Subsequently, there was a mutiny among the officers, many of whom were insufficient for the repairs and refused to continue under these conditions.
Many passengers did not want to leave, and dodge to stay at hotels because they feared it would take without it the ship in this situation. So many slept in the corridors, lounges and some even unbearably hot in the cabins.
Following an agreement and completed repairs on site in Cape Town, flown by Greek specialists, put the Australis continued their journey.