Norwegian police investigating why Viking Sky cruise ship ignored storm warnings

The operators of Norwegian cruise ship Viking Sky (IMO 9650420) have been accused of putting passengers at risk by setting sail from Tromso to Stavanger, notwithstanding storm warnings, forcing an evacuation when all of the vessels engines stopped working after detecting a lack of lubricating oil – possibly caused by excessive rolling in 15-metre-waves.

Viking Sky narrowly avoided running aground off western Norway during the afternoon of Saturday March 23rd, with 1,373 passengers and crew on board. The crew managed to restart one of the engines just in time, when within 100 metres of running aground on rocks.

Nearly 500 passengers, many of them elderly, were evacuated by helicopter. Those evacuations only stopped when it became clear that the vessel would not be running aground. Dag Sverre Liseth, director of the marine department at the Accident Investigations Board Norway, told AFP that “the risk to the passengers and the vessel was high”.

The Finnish captain apparently chose to sail while aware that Hurtigruten Coastal Express had chosen not to sail that morning.

Torstein Hagen, owner of Viking Sky has denied that the decision to sail despite the storm was due to financial considerations.

The ship finally limped into the Molde port at 16:30 local time on Sunday March 24th.

Viking Cruises said that 20 people had suffered injuries and were receiving treatment in Norway, with some already discharged.

2017-built, Norway-flagged, 47,842 gt Viking Sky is owned by Viking Ocean Cruises Ship II care of manager Viking River Cruises Inc of Woodland Hills, California, USA. ISM manager is Wilhelmsen Ship Management AS of Lysaker, Norway. It is entered with Steamship Mutual (Smuab) (European syndicate) on behalf of Viking Ocean Cruises Ship II.