Investigators board Viking Sky as questions are raised over engine failure

By: Richard Meade

TEAMS of investigators, local police and class surveyors boarded the cruise ship Viking Sky on Monday shortly after the final passengers were disembarked in Molde, west Norway, having narrowly escaped disaster when the ship’s engines failed during a storm. Both Norway’s Accident Investigation Board and Norwegian police have confirmed that they will be conducting separate investigations into the incident. Rescue services airlifted 479 people after the VIKING SKY sent out a mayday signal on Saturday as it drifted in rough waters in the Norwegian Sea to within 100 metres of land. Rescue teams hoisted passengers — many of them senior citizens — one by one on to helicopters before the weather subsided on Sunday and the ship could be towed to port. With the rescue operation now over questions are being asked about why theViking Skywas sailing through storm conditions and how all four engines on a 2017-built cruise ship could fail simultaneously. A spokesperson for Viking Cruises, owners of the VIKING SKY, stressed to Lloyd’s list that the vessel had been built to the highest standards, but said that it was too early to speculate about the causes of the engine failure. Viking Skyis equipped with four MAN 32/44CR engines and manufacturer MAN Energy Solutions has already dispatched a team to Molde to assist in the various investigations. According to reports, possible explanations for the cause of the incident include overheating of the engines caused by air being sucked into the cooling system, which in turn could have been caused by waves as high as 15 metres. The waves could have also led to precipitates in the fuel tanks meaning the engines were not getting enough fuel “Prior to any assessment onsite we don’t want to indulge in any guesswork on what may have caused the incident,” a spokesman for MAN told Lloyd’s List. “We will do a thorough analysis and take the next steps together with our customer, Viking Cruises The Norwegian Maritime Authority also has a team of surveyors on board, together with representatives from classification society Lloyd’s Register, who are authorised to carry out surveys and inspections and issue statutory certificates on VIKING SKY on behalf of the Norwegian Maritime Authority "The main goal for us is to find out what caused the ship to lose the engine power,” a spokesperson for the Norwegian Maritime Authority told Lloyd’s List. The VIKING SKY is flagged by the Norwegian International Ship Register. Norway’s Accident Investigation Board have confirmed that they will carry out a full investigation of the incident, together with the participation of the UK and US national maritime accident investigation branches due to them being classed as “significantly interested states”. The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch confirmed they have dispatched a two-man team to the vessel with expertise in marine engineering and voyage data recorders as part of its "supporting role" in Norway's investigation. "We all want to know how this could have happened,” said Torstein Hagen, the billionaire chairman of Viking Sky’s owners, Viking Ocean Cruises. "Something like this shouldn’t happen, but it has,” he said talking to Norwegian media network TV2 on Saturday.In a statement issued to Lloyd’s List, Mr Hagen said: “The past few days have been stressful and hectic for both guests and crew alike. I would like to personally apologise for what our guests experienced. I would also like to say how impressed and grateful I am for the efforts of the national rescue services, rescue personnel, local authorities and the people along the Møre coast, and thank them for the concern and generosity they have shown our guests. I would also like to express my thanks to the crew on board the VIKING SKY for their efforts and dedication. A spokesperson for Viking Cruises added: “We have already begun our own internal investigation and our goal is to establish a complete and thorough understanding of what happened, and we welcome the investigations that have been launched, and will fully support them.” Viking Cruises expects the VIKING SKY to be back in service in April.
Source : lloydslist


Norway cruise ship engines failed from lack of oil


A cruise ship that was the focus of a daring rescue operation off Norway's frigid North Sea coast became disabled because its engines didn't have enough lubricating oil, the country's top maritime official said Wednesday. Low oil levels were the "direct cause" of the engine failure that stranded the ship during a storm Saturday, Lars Alvestad, the acting director general of the Norwegian Maritime Authority, said. Sensors detected the oil shortage and automatically shut down the VIKING SKY 's engines to prevent a breakdown, he said. The ship's harrowing weekend ordeal injured dozens of people, including 36 who were admitted to hospitals. Four people from the ship remained hospitalized Wednesday, including one being treated in an intensive care ward in critical but stable condition, Norwegian health officials said. Alvestad said the amount of oil was "relatively low" but still "within set limits" as the VIKING SKY neared Hustadvika, a shallow area known for shipwrecks that has many reefs but no larger islands to offer boats shelter from pounding waves. "The heavy seas probably caused movements in the tanks so large that the supply to the lubricating oil pumps stopped," Alvestad said during a news conference. "This triggered an alarm indicating a low level of lubrication oil, which in turn, shortly thereafter, caused an automatic shutdown of the engines." VIKING SKY "suffered power 'blackout' in challenging weather conditions," he said. The ship's operator, Viking Ocean Cruises, said it welcomed "the prompt and efficient investigation" of the weekend emergency and accepted the findings. "We have inspected the (oil) levels on all our sister ships and are now revising our procedures to ensure that this issue could not be repeated," the company said in a statement. The VIKING SKY ended up in a dangerous situation when the engines stopped Saturday. With the ship carrying 1,373 passengers and crew members rocking violently, the crew sent out a mayday call. Passengers would recall a large wave crashing through glass doors and knocking people across the floor of an area where they were instructed to gather as a muster point. The crew anchored the VIKING SKY in a bay as it came close to hitting rocks and the airlift to get passengers off the ship began. Five helicopters winched passengers off one-by-one as winds howled in the dark of night. Waves up to 26-feet- (8-meters-) high were smacking into the ship, ruling out an evacuation by boat. The rescue operation ended Sunday when the engines restarted, after 479 passengers had been airlifted to land. The ship traveled under its own power to a Norwegian port with nearly 900 passengers and crew members remaining onboard.The ship was on a 12-day cruise along Norway's coast before its scheduled arrival Tuesday in Britain. The passengers were mostly an English-speaking mix of American, British, Canadian, New Zealand and Australian citizens. Alvestad said his agency has issued a new safety notice about crews making sure boats have a continuous supply of lubricating oil to engines and other critical systems in poor weather conditions. The VIKING SKY was being towed to a shipyard in another port Wednesday for repairs. 
Source : Startribune




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