Casino ship ignored orders to leave Florida port ahead of Hurricane Irma

  • Victory I casino ship remained in Port Canaveral during Hurricane Irma
  • US Coast Guard investigating potential violations of marine safety rules

The U.S. Coast Guard is set to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Florida casino ship Victory I remaining in port during Hurricane Irma.

Victory I

Port Canaveral, where the ship is based, was closed before the storm hit and an order was issued to ships such as the Victory I to leave the port.

According to the Port’s Chief Executive Officer John Murray, most owners complied with the order, ensuring that their vessels were out of the area or stored on land as required, but the Victory I stayed in the port’s waters throughout, and Murray said that if the ship had broken free during the hurricane, it could have caused ‘catastrophic damage’ to the port.

But the owners of the boat, Victory Casino Cruises, contend that they took the correct decision, and the senior captain of the ship, Tim Levensaler, said that the Victory I was not quick enough to avoid Hurricane Irma, and the crew’s safety might have been at risk:

“It’s my prerogative not to risk my crew by taking the ship into the ocean during Irma. There was no safe harbor to take it. I know what to do during a hurricane.”Tim Levensaler

Onboard casino experience

Deck plan of the Victory I casino ship
A deck plan of the Victory I casino ship showing what is on offer to casino players on decks 1 and 2.

Onboard players can choose from over 600 slots, plus 27 casino table games, including roulette and craps tables.

Players are also able to place dive into the world of sports betting by betting on basketball, football, baseball, boxing, MMA, and hockey while at sea.

The casino offering is split over 4 decks and in total covers of 40,000 square feet, there are also 5 bars and an entertainment lounge on board.

Deck plan of the Victory I casino ship
A deck plan of the Victory I casino ship showing what is on offer to casino players on decks 3 and 4.

Marine safety

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jason Kling, who leads the marine safety detachment at the Port has said that his office will carry out an administrative investigation to find out if there were any violation of safety rules, which could lead to the ship’s operators facing fines.

Diane Luensmann, the Port’s senior director of government and strategic communications said that the Victory I was still operating a gambling cruise as late as September 7, after the Coast Guard had ordered vessels to leave Port Canaveral.

Hurricane Irma eventually hit the area on September 10.

The investigation is expected take a month or longer to conclude and speaking to the press on Wednesday, King said that it was too early to tell what the outcome of the investigation would be.

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