Viking Sea Temporarily Loses Power in Malta

Viking SeaThis evening, I received word from a passenger on board the Viking Sea that the ship had lost power in Malta.  

The passenger stated: 

"Viking Sea broken down in Malta today August 11th. We were due to sail at 6pm but we are now waiting on a technician who will not arrive until 0200hrs. We are due to sail to Athens and fly back from there this is causing major issues already as flights to the US will be missed and we don't know when we will leave and when we are due to arrive. The problem is the Starboard propulsion sounds similar to the Star issue."

In November of last year, we reported that the Viking Star cruise ship had lost power in port in Tallinn, Estonia.

AIS sites showed the Viking Sea had left port in Valletta slightly after 2:00 A.M. local time in Malta, heading for Piraeus, Greece, approximately eigth hours late.  

The Viking Sea is a small ship built by Fincantieri and christened for Viking Ocean Cruises earlier this year, carrying around 930 passengers with a crew of around 550.

The Thomson Celebration lost power in Malta while attemtping to leave the port of Valletta two weeks ago.  

This is the sixth time a cruise ship lost power and the seventh time a cruise ship experienced engine troubles in just the last two and one-half months. In addition to the Thomson Celebration, the Carnival-owned Fathom's Adonia temporarily lost all power leaving the port of Miami two and one-half months ago. The Carnival Elation drifted for an hour in the dark after the cruise ship lost power as it was heading back to port in Jacksonville. The expedition cruise ship Ortelius lost power in June and had to be towed to port. Later in June, Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas experienced engine problems. As mentioned, the Thomson Celebration suffered engine failure in Malta while leaving the port of Valletta and had to drop anchor to avoid hitting the breakwater. Last week, the Caribbean Princess lost power off the Irish coast for 12 hours.    

Photo credit: By Pjotr Mahhonin - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Thomson Celebration Suffers Engine Failure in Malta

Thomson Celebration The Thomson Celebration suffered an engine failure as the cruise ship was leaving Grand Harbor in Valletta, Malta on Saturday, according to the Times of Malta.  

The Maltese newspaper states that the cruise ship "drifted for around 100 metres before the captain was forced to drop anchor in order to avoid hitting the breakwater."  This is a rather concerning scenario. I last saw the Thomson Celebration in Venice in May (photo above) while it was proceeding along the Canale della Giudecca. Without the assistance of tugs, power loss of this type could easily cause substantial damage to adjacent shore-side structures and/or the ship itself.

The Thomson Celebration reportedly blocked the Valletta harbor's entrance for about an hour, according to the newspaper (photo below). "Two tug boats helped secure the ship in order to stop it moving around with the currents." Assisted by tugs, the Thomson Celebration left the harbor once power was restored and sailed on its planned itinerary.   

The Thomson Celebration is a 32 year-old ship built by Chantiers de l'Atlantique in 1984 for Holland America Line (HAL) as the MS Noordam. The cruise ship is still owned by HAL, under long-term charter to the United Kingdom-based Thomson Cruises. 

Photo Credit: Rene Rossignaud via Times of Malta

Celebration Malta Photo: Rene Rossignaud

Passenger Charged with Raping Woman on Celebrity Reflection

Celebrity ReflectionThe Times of Malta reports that a 20 year old passenger from Scotland was charged today with raping a woman who he met on a cruise aboard the Celebrity Reflection.

The newspaper says that the man allegedly raped the woman on the Celebrity cruise ship a year ago today. The man also faces charges of holding the woman against her will and committing "violent indecent assault" on the woman.

The young man and woman were on the cruise with their families. The alleged rape took place after the woman had her drink spiked.

Celebrity / Royal Caribbean registered the Reflection in Malta. The police is Malta issued an "European Arrest Warrant" to bring the alleged assailant to court. This is an unusual case insofar as most flag states, like the Bahamas, never issue warrants or even try to prosecute crimes committed on cruise ships flying flags of convenience. 

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Photo Credit: Celebrity Reflection cruise ship by Moonik - own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Jurisdictional Hurdles Delay Arrest of Rapist on Celebrity Reflection

A newspaper in Malta reports that the Malta Police have issued what is described as an "European arrest warrant" for a Scottish man wanted for attempted rape after he assaulted a girl from England aboard the Celebrity Reflection cruise ship last summer.

The newspaper says that the incident happened last summer on the Reflection when the young British student's beverage was spiked by a passenger from Scotland, who then "indecently assaulted her Celebrity Reflectionand tried to rape her." 

Royal Caribbean registered the Reflection in Malta, which is a island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, in order to avoid U.S. taxes, labor and wages laws and safety regulations. Cruise lines routinely register their cruise ships in places like the Bahamas, Bermuda and Panama for tax avoidance purposes.

Because the incident took place in international waters, criminal proceedings must be instituted in Malta where the cruise ship is registered rather than in any of the ports of call or the victim's home country.

When the girl returned with her family to the U.K., the British police interviewed her and collected evidence. But the law enforcement in Malta did not take steps to arrest the Scottish passenger. The victim retained a lawyer who contacted the newspaper in Malta after he had heard nothing from the Maltese local law enforcement authorities for six months. It sounds like the police in Malta issued an arrest warrant only after the local press placed pressure on them.

Registering a cruise ship in a rocky little island in the middle of nowhere creates a no man's lands where it's virtually impossible to arrest and prosecute a sexual predator. This is a common problem that a sexual assault victim on a cruise ship experiences. The police in places like the Bahamas and Panama (or Malta, Marshall Islands, Bermuda etc.) have no resources or interest in prosecuting rapists on cruise ships around the world. 

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Photo Credit: Cruise Critic