Viking Cruises Under Investigation

The Viking Sky recently was caught up in a huge storm, forcing the cruise ship to dock

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The Viking Sky recently was caught up in a huge storm, forcing the cruise ship to dock

On Monday, all 1,300 passengers on Viking Sky were on land with 9 hospitalized and one in critical condition. The Viking Sky set sail despite storm warnings on March 14. In between the Norwegian ports of Tromso and Stavanger, the ship’s engines failed and the crew sent out a mayday signal. A lack of lubricating oil caused the engines to shutdown. The ship’s safety system detected low levels of oil and automatically stopped the engines to prevent a total breakdown. The cruise ship happened to lose power in a section of coastline infamous for rough seas and bad weather.

After dropping anchor, the massive cruise ship slowly drifted dangerously close to shore and nearly beached itself. As high winds and 26-foot tall waves rocked the ship, five helicopters and several other vessels attempted to evacuate as many passengers as possible one by one, including seniors. The rescue mission was temporarily slowed when 2 helicopters had to be diverted to rescue the crew of a stricken cargo ship in the same area. As the ship rocked violently, causing furniture to slide across the deck, passengers received injuries including cuts and broken bones. 479 passengers were airlifted to safety before the weather calmed and the crew managed to get 3 out of the 4 engines operational again. The ship eventually sailed on its own power to the port city of Molde where it is now docked and undergoing repairs. All the passengers flew out of Norway on Monday.

Passengers reported that the crew worked exceptionally well and were well trained for such emergencies. Crew members formed a human chain to reach life jackets that were located on the open deck while the ship was tilted at about a 45-degree angle. The lifeboats were unusable as the lack of power prevented them from being moved and the seas were too rough anyways. The ship’s next cruise have been canceled and all passengers will be given a full refund by Viking Cruises.

Norway has announced that they are investigating why the captain set sail despite storm warnings and why the engine suddenly cut out. Viking Sky is a relatively new ship, being delivered to Viking Cruises in 2017. The cruise ship industry as a whole has suffered multiple setbacks. In 2012, Consta Concordia, operated by Carnival Corporation sank with 32 onboard. In 2014, a ferry caught fire in the middle of the ocean.

The Viking Sky narrowly avoided a disaster. It serves as a reminder and warning of how deadly the ocean is.