The Viking Sky cruise ship lost power as it sailed toward Stavanger, Norway in heavy seas and wind today. The cruise ship issued a mayday call and many passengers were evacuated from the cruise ship via helicopter as the ship rocked back and forth in stormy weather.

Passengers were reportedly being hoisted one-by-one by rescue helicopters from the stranded cruise ship as strong winds pushed the ship toward the Hustadvika coast of Norway, which is considered one of the most dangerous parts of the Norwegian coast, with many ships wrecking in this area during rough weather.

Around 1,300 passengers and crew were originally on the ship, according to Reuters. The Independent stated that the ship carried 915 passengers and 458 crew.

According to Buzzfeed, the ship had restarted one of its engines, while Reuters reported that it was able to anchor about 2 kilometers from the coast. Some news sources suggest that the ship was finally able to start several engines. The Telegraph reported that the  ship eventually managed to drop anchor in Hustadsvika Bay, between the western Norwegian cities of Alesund and Trondheim.

Loss of power at sea on cruise ships is an issue we cover on a regular basis.

In 2016, there were at least 18 power losses, either complete or partial, of cruise ships operated by the major U.S.-based lines, including problems with the Carnival Elation, Carnival Legend, Carnival Liberty and Carnival Vista as well as the Carnival owned AdoniaCaribbean Princess, Emerald Princess, and Costa neoRiviera, as well as Celebrity’s Summit and Constellation, Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, Silversea Cruises’s Silver Cloud, NCL’s Norwegian Star and Norwegian Gem, Oceania Cruises’ Regatta and P&O’s Oriana.

The Viking Sea experienced engine problems in December of 2016 which kept it stuck in Barcelona.

In August of 2016, the Viking Sea temporarily lost power in Malta.

In August of 2015, the Viking Star lost power in an engine after leaving Tallinn and resulted in the cancellation of the cruise.

Fortunately, most power failures occur in the Caribbean during calm weather. Losing power in rough weather like this current situation is potentially a disastrous situation. It is virtually impossible to safely evacuate over a thousand passengers via lifeboats during a storm in these type of wind and wave conditions.

Crew members tried to ready the lifeboats to evacuate the passengers but waves crashed into the boats and the crew had to abandon their efforts.

@HRSSorNorge, the official account of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre of Southern Norway, states that there are tugs and offshore supply vessels standing by to try and assist the Viking Sky. The cruise ship is likely to be towed, if it is still unable to get proceed under its own power.

By all accounts, the crew members working aboard the cruise ship performed exemplary during this crisis; the crew efficiently assisted the passengers in being airlifted from the stricken ship.

Photographs from the ship are posted on our Cruise Law News Facebook page (photos left). They demonstrate the extensive damage on the ship caused by being rocked by the high winds and waves caused by the storm.

The Viking Sky left Bergen, Norway on March 14th calling on ports in Norway. It was scheduled to end its current cruise in Tilbury on March 26th.

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March 24, 2019 Update:  According to the Independent, the two year old Viking Sky was sailing on a two-week “In Search of the Northern Lights” voyage. “This is the first winter for the Viking Cruises itinerary. When the plans were unveiled, the cruise line’s chairman, Torstein Hagen, said: “No other cruise line can show guests this part of the world like we can.”

“The shipping forecast for the planned voyage was for gale-force winds and very rough seas.”

Mayday was declared at 2pm on Saturday afternoon, 23 March, after the ship lost power.

“Unable to make progress or steer, the ship was hit by extreme waves, with passengers’ belongings thrown around their cabins. An emergency was declared. Passengers put on life jackets and went to the muster stations. It was at one of these locations that a huge wave smashed windows, with a large inflow of water that swept a number of passengers off their feet and caused injuries, including broken limbs.”

“A helicopter evacuation began, with the injured, wet and cold passengers winched off the ship individually and taken in batches of 15 to 20 to the nearby city of Molde.”

“By 10.30am, 479 passengers had been airlifted from the vessel. Viking Cruises says: ‘Currently we understand 20 people suffered injuries as a result of this incident, and they are all receiving care at the relevant medical centres in Norway, with some already having been discharged.'”

“Viking Sky will stay in port in Molde while repairs are carried out. Her next voyage, from Tilbury to Germany and Scandinavia, due to depart on Wednesday 27 March has been cancelled.”

The central question remains why did Viking take their guests into such a storm? The Norwegian press is commenting that the Norwagian ferries did not try and sail in this weather but the Viking cruise ship did anyway. “The captains on the north and southbound Hurtigruten chose to wait in Bergen and Trondheim because of the weather forecast for Saturday.  The cruise ship Viking Sky, on the other hand, chose to pass Hustadvika on the Møre coast in strong winds . . .”

“It was very nearly a disaster. The ship drifted to within 100 meters of running aground before they were able to restart one of the engines,” stated police chief Hans Vik, who heads the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre for southern Norway, according to Reuters (emphasis added).

Video/photo credit: Eva Frisnes – top photograph; Alexus Sheppard – middle; L’Important.fr. – bottom video

Photographs – Facebook page – Working Pinoy: Cruise Ship.

 

 

The U.S. Coast Guard air stations in Atlantic City, New Jersey medevaced a passenger  from the MSC Divina cruise ship yesterday, March 19, 2019.

The MSC cruise ship was approximately 100 miles off Atlantic City, New Jersey.  The 52-year-old man was reportedly found unconscious on the ship’s pool deck. There is no explanation how or why the passenger was rendered unconscious. According to NJ.com, a rescue crew aboard a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Atlantic City loaded the man onto a stretcher, hoisted him onto the helicopter and flew him to Atlantic City Regional Medical Center. The mission was supported by an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

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Video credit: Video by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodge, U.S. Coast Guard District 5 PADET Baltimore, U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City via Defense Visual Information Distribition Service (DVIDS).

Several guests aboard the Mariner of the Seas report that a passenger who went overboard from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship tonight has been located and rescued from the water.

I first heard of the overboard and the rescue from updates on Twitter from @kcjarvis who posted information, via a live video “periscope” app, operated under “Mariner of the Seas #rcperiscopers.”

He reported that “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar” announcements were made on the ship as it headed toward Nassau. Search and rescue protocols were then followed.

@kcjarvis provided updates from guests on the Royal Caribban cruise ship.

Later, he dramatically stated that the captain of the Royal Caribbean ship announced that the overboard person had been successfully rescued and brought aboard the ship.

The Mariner of the Seas left Miami on the late afternoon of March 18, 2019 for a four night cruise to the Bahamas (Nassau and Coco Cay). The ship is scheduled to return to Miami on the early morning of March 22nd.

It is unusual (but great news) for an overboard person to be rescued (and so quickly) and to have an account of such good news covered via a live video.

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Photo credit: Spaceaero2 – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.

Video credit: @kcjarvis / Mariner of the Seas #rcperiscopers

NCL’s Norwegian Breakaway failed a recent sanitation inspection conducted by the United States Public Health (USPH) inspectors in New Orleans, Lousianna.

The purpose of the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to assist the cruise ship industry to “prevent and control the introduction, transmission, and spread of gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses on cruise ships.” VSP operates under the authority of the U.S. Public Health Service Act.

The VSP applies only to cruise ships calling on U.S. ports. Few countries outside of the U.S. inspect cruise ships for sanitation problems.

USPH sanitation inspectors conduct inspections twice a year on cruise ships when they are in a U.S. port. The inspections are supposedly a surprise, although many crew members have stated that federal inspectors sometimes give advance notice of the inspections to the cruise ships. A score of 85 or below constitutes a failed sanitation score, and often leads to the firing of the shipboard Food & Beverage department heads and/or managers and always result in increased work by the shipboard employees.

On March 10, 2019, sanitation inspectors noted that NCL failed to follow up with ill crew members with acute gastroenteritis (AGE) on the Norwegian Breakaway; other violations included flies and fruit flies in several of the grills and bars; a pot wash area was heavily soiled with food debris and several galleys were dirty. You can read the USPH report here.

The Breakaway last received a score of 98 in April of last year. The cruise ship has averaged in the low 90’s over the course of the last six years since its maiden cruise. It received a score of 100 in June of 2015.

A year ago, Market Watch published a comprehensive article, by reporter Jacob Passy, titled Record Number of Cruise Ships Failed Health and Safety Inspections in 2017, concluding that there were 14 instances where a cruise ship failed a sanitation inspection that year. No NCL ships failed inspections in 2017. The article found that Carnival Cruise Line cruise ships received five failing grades, in addition to one failure in 2018.

Carnival claimed that its food handling and preparation are of the “highest quality,” which seemed questionable regarding the details of the scores in 2017 on the Carnival Breeze (77), Carnival Triumph (78), Carnival Vista (79), Carnival Legend (83), and Carnival Paradise (83). The Carnival Liberty failed in 2018 with a score of only 83.

The Breakaway has not yet submitted a Corrective Action Report in response to the failed score.

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Photo credit: Top – Norwegian Breakaway – Ad Meskens – CC BY-SA, 4.0, commons / wikimedia; bottom – draft USPH report – anonymous.

Carnival Cruise Line suddenly and unexpectedly canceled all future port stops to Antigua, according to the AntiguaNewsRoom today.  Carnival’s announcement comes two weeks after Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne accused the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (“FCCA”) of “exploiting the region.”

As reported by the Daily Observer on February 26th, Prime Minister Browne accused the association of “exploiting Caribbean countries for lower visitor tax rates:”

“The reality is that the FCCA is literally exploiting the Caribbean. So you will charge, for example, thousands of dollars for your visitors to the Caribbean – and I know that the cruise business is capital intensive – but when you are giving these countries five or six dollars per head this cannot cover the capital costs for the infrastructure,” Browne said, pointing to Heritage Quay as an example of heavy infrastructure cost.”

Prime Minister Browne explained that the only way for small countries like Antigua to fight the FCCA is to form a regional port facility.

“Unless the entire Caribbean comes together and forms a regional port facility and mandate that [the Cruise Associations] pay more, we will continue to end up in problems and have to subsidise that sector. . . ”

Of course, the prime minister is right. This is not the first time that Carnival Cruise Line has done this to Antigua. Almost 10 years ago, as we reported in Carnival Drops Antigua Like A Hot Potato, Carnival has dropped Antigua from its regular seven night Southern Caribbean cruise itinerary. Antigua’s tourism minister at the time, John Maginley, told the Miami Herald that Carnival informed him of their decision via e-mail: “There was no discussion, none,” Maginely said. “We’re supposed to be partners in this thing, and all we got was an e-mail sent to the agent in Antigua that Carnival is pulling its boat.”

I wrote at the time that “this should serve as a wake up call for all ports of call which are dependent on cruise lines.  Carnival holds all of the cards in situations like this.  The notion that a sovereign country like Antigua is an equal “partner” to an 800 pound gorilla like Carnival is fanciful.  If a cruise line can make a better deal with an island next door, which charges a lower head tax, has fewer environmental restrictions, or is willing to foot the bill for a larger dock, then it’s ‘see ya later’ as far as the cruise line goes.”

Carnival Cruise Line’s website has already been updated to eliminate all cruises to Antigua.

Carnival’s latest pull out of Antigua will cost the island many millions of dollars in losses to its tour operators, vendors and other local businesses. Carnival, with its tax-free billions of dollars in income, will not miss a beat.

Cruise lines like Carnival remain selfish, fickle lovers.  Here today, gone tomorrow.

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Story credit: Cruise Fever Carnival Cruise Line Canceling All Ship Visits to Caribbean Cruise Port.

Photo credit: Carnival Breeze – Caribbean 360

 

A few minutes ago, the Regal Princess rescued two survivors of a small place crash in the Caribbean.

The Princess cruise ship was heading toward St. Thomas when the captain announced that there were two people in the water after the airplane crashed.

The cruise ship changed course to reach the site of the airplane crash. The vessel’s crew deployed a rescue boat and retrieved a life raft and two people from the plane. One passenger who contacted our office stated that the survivors were located in their life raft and waved to the cruise passengers who were cheering for them when they were rescued. The captain reportedly stated that both people are safe and doing well. The plane reportedly sank and apparently there was not a fuel slick or any debris from the crash.

A Coast Guard aircraft reportedly circled over the rescue.

Several passenger went to social media to report on the rescue:

A video of the rescue is shown below via Facebook:

Plane crash rescue at sea. They were saved! Good job to the US coast guard and the #regalprincess crew!

Posted by John Becker on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Photo and video credit: Photo top – anonymous; photo middle – “SH” (anonymous)  video bottom – John Becker.

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High winds reportedly struck the Norwegian Escape last night, causing injuries to passengers as “chairs, tables, glass, people went flying to one side of the ship:”

This morning (around 11 hours later), Norwegian Cruise Line tweeted that on Sunday, March 3rd, just before midnight, the Norwegian Escape encountered a “sudden, extreme gust of wind, estimated at 100 knots, which resulted in the ship heeling to the port side …”  NCL tweeted that several passengers and crew members were injured and received medical treatment.

NCL denied that there was damage to the cruise ship which continues on toward Port Canaveral for an anticipated early arrival on March 5th.

The Escape left the New York area on the afternoon of March 3 heading for Port Canaveral, Florida for a scheduled 1:00 PM arrival on  March 5. It is scheduled to arrive in Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas on March 6 and Nassau, Bahamas on March 7, returning to the New York area on March 10.

NCL says that the current itinerary and the next sailing are not expected to be impacted.

NCL says that the “gust of wind” was “sudden” and “unexpected.” It remains to be seen whether there were up to date weather conditions and forecasts available to the navigational officers on the NCL cruise ship. I am not a meteorologist, but it was well known that rough weather and high winds were moving east across the U.S. as a series of deadly tornadoes struck several states before moving offshore yesterday. (See weather map below).

 

NCL is facing litigation arising out of its decision to sail into a huge storm called a “bomb cyclone” which formed off the eastern coast of the U.S. at the beginning of January 2018. The NCL cruise executives claimed that the weather was unpredictable. Read: NCL CEO Del Rio on the Norwegian Breakaway Bomb Cyclone Fiasco: “Weather Can Be Unpredictable . . . (It’s) All Good.”

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March 5, 2019 Update: A passenger posted a video (via Facebook) shortly after the cruise ship heeled.

Posted by Tony Ciaramello on Monday, March 4, 2019

WFTV covered the arrival of the Norwegian Escape at Port Canaveral today, with several ambulances shown arriving at the port to pick up people injured on the cruise ship.

Photo credit: Norwegian Escape – Arno Redenius, CC BY-SA 4.0, commons/ wikimedia; maps – national weather services, MarineTraffic. Video credit – Tony Ciaromello amd WFTV.

The Carnival Victory reportedly lost power for several hours late this afternoon, according to passengers posting on social media.

Passengers on the ship report that the at some point after 5:00 P.M., the Carnival Victory lost power and the ship went dark. (Several passengers mentioned that the ship lost power as early as 3:15 P.M.). A generator was started but the ship remained drifting without propulsion for several hours.

The Carnival Victory is on a 4 Night Western Caribbean cruise, having left Miami on February 25th for Key West, Florida. The Carnival cruise ship called on Cozumel, Mexico yesterday (February 27th) and is currently north of Cuba at this time. Before the power failure, the ship was scheduled to arrive back in Miami tomorrow morning at 8:00 A.M.

Shortly before 8:00 P.M. this evening, Carnival announced that the cruise ship regained power and would arrive on time tomorrow morning. Carnival stated:

“Carnival Victory experienced a brief power outage earlier this afternoon. Power and all services have been fully restored and the ship continues on the way to Miami for an on time arrival tomorrow morning.”\

Passengers on the cruise ship are now stating that the air conditioning has finally come back on and the ship is sailing back to Miami and has increased its speed from around 11 knots to 20 knots. Carnival did not disclose the exact nature of the power failure.

The Carnival Victory experienced mechanical problems in October of last year.  Carnival stated that an unspecified “issue” was affecting the ship’s “maximum cruising speed.” A letter to the ship’s guests signed by the Master of the cruise ship stated that although technicians were doing the “necessary work,” the ship would operate on a modified itinerary. The ship sailed to Nassau in the Bahamas rather than to Cozumel. Carnival offered its guests token compensation of only a $50 onboard credit.

Last year, Carnival announced that the ship is part of a $2 billion enhancement program where the cruise line is rebranding a number of its ships.  The Carnival Victory will be dry docked in March of 2020 before returning to the fleet as Carnival Radiance. The ship will undergo major refurbishments including specialty dining facilities, aqua parks, and enhanced accommodations and amenities.

Power losses of cruise ships are a relatively common occurrence. In 2016, there were at least 18 power losses of cruise ships operated by the major U.S.-based lines, including problems with the Carnival Elation, Carnival Legend, Carnival Liberty and Carnival Vista as well as the Carnival owned AdoniaCaribbean Princess, Emerald Princess, and Costa neoRiviera.

2017 saw a number of Carnival cruise ships experiencing engine problems, such as the Carnival Dream, which was forced to miss a port in Mexico in August and then limped back to New Orleans, as well as propulsion issues plaguing the Carnival FantasyCarnival Paradise, and Carnival Splendor.

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The United States State Department issued another travel warning for the Bahamas today.

The U.S. State Department reissued a “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution Due to Crime” for the Bahamas, stating:

“Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault, is common, even during the day and in tourist areas. Although the family islands are not crime-free, the vast majority of crime occurs on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands . . .  Activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated. Watercraft are often not maintained, and many companies do not have safety certifications to operate in The Bahamas. Jet-ski operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists . . .”

There were three travel warnings issued by the U.S. last year for the Bahamas, by the U.S. Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) in the Bahamas 2018 Crime & Safety Report, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Embassy in Nassau as well as one warning by Canada.

Like other U.S. warnings about the Bahamas, this latest warning primarily involves Nassau (New Providence), not the “outer islands” which are not frequented by cruise ships. The OSAC estimates that there are approximately 370,000 people living in the Bahamas, with around 70% (around 250,000-260,000) of the population residing in crime-filled New Providence. Another another 15% (55,000) live on Grand Bahama. The rest of the population is dispersed over numerous islands (commonly referred to as the “Family Islands”), where crime is substantially less than in Nassau.

The per capita murder and rape rates for the Bahamas as a whole are dramatically higher than any port city in the United States, including Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

Royal Caribbean, in addition to some other cruise lines, has issued crime warnings for Nassau in the past, although it recently watered down its language after the Minister of Tourism complained.

The U.S. has issued more travel warnings for the Bahamas in the last decade than for all of the other Caribbean ports combined.

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Images credit: Top – Google map; middle –  TampAGS, for AGS Media – CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

According to videos posted on the popular Noticias de Cruceros, two cruise ships operated by MSC Cruises collided at the port in Buenos Aires yesterday.

The YouTube videos shows the MSC Orchestra and the MSC Poesia colliding at the port. There are no reports of personal injury, not is there any explanation for the collision.

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Photo and Video Credit: Noticias de Cruceros and Crocieristi Italiani.

 

Crocieristi Italiani posted additional videos, which provide a clearer perspective of the collision.

NUOVI VIDEO DELL'INCIDENTEMsc Orchestra, e Msc Poesia, hanno avuto l'altro ieri un incontro molto ravvicinato al porto di Buenos Aires.Sulla nostra pagina Crocieristi Italiani, troverete 5 video dell'incidente ripresi da un'angolazioni diverseEntra qui di seguito nella nostra pagina, e metti MI PIACE.https://www.facebook.com/crocieristitropeani/🎥 YT Noticias de Cruceros#Msc #MscOrchestra #MscPoesia #Crociere #Cruise #Cruises #MscCrociere #Ship #Croisiere #Cruceros #Crocieristi #CrocieristiItaliani #Incidente #crash #accident

Posted by Crocieristi Italiani on Friday, February 22, 2019