Viking Sky lost engine power because of low levels of lubricating oil

The engines of cruise ship Viking Sky (IMO 9650420) failed because of relatively low levels of lubricating oil in the engines, the Norwegian Maritime Authority said on Wednesday March 27th. Viking Sky narrowly avoided running aground off western Norway last Saturday during heavy seas. She had almost 1,400 passengers and crew aboard at the time, and sent out a mayday signal after all four engines had failed. The crew managed to restart one of the engines just in time.

“Our conclusion is that the engine failure was directly caused by low oil pressure,” the Norwegian Maritime Authority said, adding that “the level of lubricating oil in the tanks was within set limits, however relatively low, when the vessel started to cross Hustadvika”.

The heavy seas were thought to have caused movements in the tanks sufficiently large to interrupt supply to the lubricating oil pumps, the regulator said. That in turn triggered an alarm indicating a low level of lubricating oil, which in turn caused an automatic shutdown of the engines. Only 479 passengers could be evacuated before the weather subsided on Sunday and a tow could begin.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Viking Sky left the port of Molde, where it had been anchored since Sunday, for repairs at a shipyard in Kristiansund, some 70 km away.

Repairs are to be carried out at Vestbase, according to a report from Norwegian news site Aftenposten, which further said that cruise operator Viking Ocean Cruises expects the ship to return to sea in April.

Following the accident, the Clean Arctic Alliance called for an end to heavy fuel oil use, pointing to the possibility of the ship spilling oil off the Norwegian coast in a worst-case scenario.

An Allianz Global Corporate Specialty (AGCS) report on marine claims trends from last year revealed that machinery breakdown (including engine failure) continued to be among the largest causes of loss by value and frequency.

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.