Broken Thruster or Strong Currents? Norwegian Breakaway Delayed Returning to Pier 88

A number of news sources are reporting that a NCL cruise ship, the Norwegian Breakaway, was delayed in the Hudson River after one of its thrusters malfunctioned this morning.

The Daily News reported that the Breakaway, while returning to New York after a week-long Caribbean cruise, lost its steering as it headed toward Pier 88 on the West Side when a thruster malfunctioned. 

NCL Norwegian Breakaway Cruise ShipCoast Guard officials said they were notified of the predicament around 7:45 AM, and a tug boat assisted the cruise ship to the pier around 10 AM.

NCL didn't mention any type of propulsion problem. A NCL spokeperson said “The ship was slightly delayed because of strong currents in the Hudson River.” 

A cruise passenger @NoelDallacco tweeted that the incident was not a big deal. She posted a photo of a tug pushing the NCL cruise ship to port. 

NCL cruise ships have experienced problems trying to make it into New York piers in the past. In 2012, the Norwegian Star cruise ship struck the pier next to an aircraft carrier at the Intrepid Museum in Manhattan. In 2008, the Norwegian Spirit smashed Pier 90 while trying to dock at Pier 88. 

Ten days ago, there was dramatic video posted on Facebook and Twitter when NCL's Norwegian Gem was attempting to return to port to attempt a medical disembark after a passenger was injured. The cruise ship began drifting sideways toward an anchored tanker and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. (The pilot aboard the NCL ship sounds like Woody Allen). The video is from NY Harbor Webcam: 

 

 

 

 

May 6 2014 Update: According to a NBC news station, "A dead 30-foot whale found on the Brooklyn side of New York Harbor Monday morning may have gotten tangled in the steering system of a cruise ship, disabling the boat for several hours, authorities said Tuesday.

The whale was found near Pier 4 on Monday, and towed to the New Jersey side of the harbor.

The NOAA Fisheries Service said it is believed to have been struck by the Norwegian Cruise Lines ship, which then stalled for several hours in the Hudson River as it was preparing to dock in Manhattan Sunday. 

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Comments (6) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
R - May 5, 2014 9:09 AM

OK, I wasn't there or know of anything other than piecing media reports together. Here's my take: The ship had thruster/generator problems. Yes, the thrusters do assist in maneuvering during docking, and if not available, tugs need to be used to push/pull the bow to the dock (not into "port"). Tugs take some time to get to where they are needed and the tugs could have been working in Elizabeth, NJ at the time. The tugs which may be 4500 HP had to replace 12,000 HP of thruster power (on a windy day), so awaiting slack water at 10AM is the wise thing to do. The Captain took the correct action, and it should be pointed out.

What is incorrect about the news reports is the ship was not "towed" or "pushed" (in)to port. Nor did it "lose steering". "Steering" is thought to originate from forces coming from the stern of the ship, in this case from azipods and not a fixed propeller(s) and rudder(s). Nor, was the ship "stuck in the Hudson River". Alot of conflating terms and nomenclature here, which, I guess, is expected from the local media.

R - May 5, 2014 9:19 AM

Re: Norwegian Gem

The bridge team purposely allowed the ship to "drift sideways" to allow the injured passenger to be disembarked to the law enforcement boat. In order to safely disembark, the ship turns "sideways" to the wind, to "get a lee" from the wind, and have calm water on that side of the ship. Pilots do this every time they get on or off a ship, but at 10 knots or so outside the harbor. The pilot did what he was supposed to do, and tried to expedite the medevac, and told them that they were taking far too long to get the woman off. I expect well before they drifted on to the anchored ship, the bridge team would have aborted the maneuver. The pilot made this clear to the NYPD/FD boats. Sometimes we (pilots) intentionally allow ships to "drift sideways".

flora - May 6, 2014 9:52 PM

I was on the ship okay.. the news is making it seem bad. The whole time the captain was informing us what was going on and the staff was great about it.. I can't stand that something so same makes people lie and act like the ship is bad.. best cruise of my life..

Stir Fry - May 8, 2014 1:27 PM

This video shows how disgusting and unnaturally large these "ships" are.

The attitude of the captain was very rude and unprofessional and at one point he called the NYPD and FDNY "a bunch of clowns". A far cry from the alleged sugar-coated wonderland reported by flora's (shill) posting. No lie here, flora; it's all right here on video and audio.

Eltee4 - May 8, 2014 8:25 PM

Daily News has reported the whale that was found recently in the area waters deceased appears to have been hit by a ship, possibly the Breakaway, which may have caused the issue. Here is the article:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/whale-head-cruise-ship-collided-expert-article-1.1782023

Will - May 17, 2014 6:49 PM

No lie, Stir Fry? You should check facts. That was not the ships captain speaking but the NEW YORK pilot.

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