A cruise ship with practically 1,400 passengers and crew members misplaced engine energy in heavy winds and greater than 25-foot waves close to the coast of Norway on Saturday, injuring a number of folks and prompting a painstaking, hourslong evacuation, the authorities mentioned.
The evacuation of the ship, the Viking Sky, started round 2 p.m. native time and stretched by way of the darkness into the early morning. At four a.m. native time, solely 280 of the 1,373 folks on board had been eliminated, in line with officers with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Southern Norway, which was conducting the operation.
When helicopters reached the ship, rescue personnel have been lowered to take away passengers by winch separately, in wind speeds of greater than 45 m.p.h. Filled with 10 to 15 folks, the helicopters then returned to land.
Hundreds of different folks sporting life jackets, in the meantime, waited on board, in a dramatic scene captured by images and movies shared on Twitter.
The pictures confirmed the Viking Sky itemizing within the midst of whipping winds and white-capped waves. Water may very well be seen rushing onto the ship and furniture sliding from one side to another.
“The evacuation is very slow,” Alexus Sheppard, who had been waiting to be evacuated for six hours, said in an interview from aboard the ship.
“The ship is rocking and rolling but at anchor,” she said. “Everyone is calm, except when we get rolled by a big wave.”
A spokesman for Viking described the injuries as not life-threatening but did not answer questions seeking more information. The spokesman said the Sky was not sinking, despite photos and videos showing water on the ship.
“The people on board the ship are safe, though it’s not a pleasant cruise for them any longer,” said Per Fjeld, a spokesman for the rescue center. “Those who are on the ship, there’s no real hurry. They are not in any danger or anything like that.”
The crew on the 47,800-ton ship, which was traveling from Tromso to Stavanger in Norway, sounded a mayday around 2 p.m. local time near the city of Molde. Mr. Fjeld said that at that time, only one of the ship’s four engines was working.
The majority of the passengers were American, said Eirik Walle, rescue coordinator for the center.
It was not immediately clear what caused the cruise ship to lose power. But it did so in a particularly dangerous part of the Norwegian coastline called Hustadvika, Mr. Walle said.
“Its reputation is fierce,” he said.
Mr. Walle said that for a period of time, the ship was close to one mile away from the shore, and without power, it could have drifted dangerously close to rocks on the coastline. The crew threw down anchors, but for some time, they struggled to catch on the ground, Mr. Walle said. Eventually, they caught.
Mr. Fjeld said that as of Saturday evening, the coastline was no longer a danger.
“That was a situation that was rather critical from the start, but it managed to move away from the dangerous part of the coast,” he said.
The Viking spokesman said the Viking Sky was “proceeding on its own power.” Mr. Fjeld said that three of the ship’s four engines were working and that the ship was slowly moving south, away from the coastline.
Mr. Walle said he expects that the ship will eventually be towed to a harbor. Then the helicopter rescues will stop.
“That will take several, several, several hours,” he said. “That depends on the weather.”
People who had been flown off the ship were being put up in hotels, and Viking would arrange return flights for all guests, the spokesman said.
“We are working closely with the relevant authorities and all operational procedures were followed in line with international regulations,” the spokesman said. “In addition, Viking has dispatched an operational task force, including the company’s owner, to Molde.”
Mr. Fjeld said the heavy winds and poor weather also led a cargo ship to sound a mayday, and rescuers had to pluck nine people from that ship on Saturday.