Norway cruise ship evacuated after engine problems

MV Viking Sky evacuated after engine problems March 2019Image copyright
AFP/Getty

Image caption

MV Viking Sky was heading to Stavanger from Tromso

About 1,300 people are being evacuated from a cruise ship off the western coast of Norway, authorities have said.

Police in the county of More og Romsdal say the ship has suffered engine problems, and all those aboard are being taken to shore.

Norway’s sea rescue agency said the MV Viking Sky sent out a distress signal amid high waves and strong winds.

Five helicopters and several ships are taking part in the evacuation, the agency said.

Reports of a ship suffering engine problems first came through at about 14:00 local time (13:00 GMT).

It is unclear how many people have been rescued so far, with some saying up to 100 have already been brought to shore.

But police warned the figures will vary, and said they would “wait for counting until further notice”.

There have so far not been any serious injuries, police said. However, VG newspaper reports five people have been taken to hospital.

Sea rescue services said the ship was being held steady and the evacuation was ongoing.

Waves are reported to be more than 10 metres high, with one local newspaper reporting lifeboats were forced to turn back en route to the ship due to the “brutal” conditions.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Five helicopters are taking part in the rescue

Police told the newspaper VG winds are blowing at 38 knots, and the ship is less than 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km) from the shore.

However, reports suggest the ship has managed to restart one engine and move slightly further from the coast as the evacuation continues.

Those brought ashore are being taken to a local sports complex. One volunteer said about 80 had arrived so far, and accommodation had been found for them in local hotels.

Image copyright
I.L.Bryn

Image caption

Those evacuated were taken to a nearby sports hall

MV Viking Sky is a Viking Ocean Cruises ship, which had its maiden voyage in 2017.

Website MarineTraffic shows the vessel was en route to Stavanger from Tromso, and is drifting off the town of Farstad near Molde on the country’s western coast.

The company website shows it has capacity for 930 guests on board.

The area is known as the Hustadvika and is reportedly one of the most dangerous stretches of Norway’s coast.


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Hundreds of thousands march in London to demand new Brexit referendumStranded passenger that were rescued by helicopter from the cruise ship Viking Sky are pictured on March 23, 2019 on the west coast of Norway near Romsdal. - Emergency services said on March 23, 2019 they were airlifting 1,300 passengers off a cruise ship off the Norwegian coast.