Traumatic experience on-board the Viking Sky

When the news first hit the headlines about the Viking Sky’s troubles at sea it got me to thinking about what it would be like to be in that situation… stranded in the middle of a stormy sea, scared for my life.  I have never encountered anything anywhere near as bad thankfully, with my roughest crossing being last December on Marco Polo during which I struggled to walk a bit, took a travel sickness tablet which knocked me out and slept through most of my last day on-board.  My thoughts were with the poor people on the Viking Sky though as this looked to be a very scary experience.  This is what happened.


On Saturday 23rd March at about 2pm, the Viking Sky sent out a distress signal whilst en-route to Stavanger.  She was sailing through Hustadvika which is well known for its stormy weather and lost power.  All four engines failed, and the ship was defenceless to the elements of the storm which was reported as having 50mph gusts and up to 26ft waves hitting the ship.  The ship drifted and thankfully the crew managed to restore one of the engines in the nick of time (or the outcome could have been so much worse).  The Viking Sky managed to gain that small bit of control then in order to steer the ship further away from shore to prevent collision with land.


Whilst rescue attempts were made initially from boats it became apparent that the weather was too dangerous to get close to the ship.  The only thing to do was to send out helicopters to rescue the passengers.  This was a very long process as each could only take about 15-20 people at a time and there were 1,373 passengers on-board (not including crew!).  It seemed that the older passengers and those more in need of rescue were prioritised in this rescue effort which went on through the day and overnight.  About 500 passengers were rescued this way before the crew finally managed to gain power of 3 or the 4 engines and steer those remaining on-board into Molde.


From looking at pictures of the ship and videos this experience looked terrifying and I worried for the safety of those on-board.  Reports have claimed that passengers were fearing for their lives.  Some likened it to what they could imagine the passengers felt like on the Titanic.  Ceilings were falling, furniture being flung by the stormy seas and people had to seek shelter and sit down, many were very sick from the waves.  Miraculously through all this, although some were injured. Everyone made it back to shore.  Reports have told of the amazing efforts made to rescue passengers and first-class service from crew who, despite probably being very fearful too, made this situation just a bit less awful for passengers trying to keep them as comfortable and safe as possible and helping to get them food and drink.   Shelter was found for all passengers when they arrived back, and counselling services offered for those who are understandably traumatised by this scary experience.  The next cruise on Viking Sky (at least) has been cancelled and they now face a huge effort to restore the ship to its former condition.


Would this stop me from cruising?  Definitely not.  You wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning if you worried about everything that could happen and this is a freak occurrence.  Have you had any scary experiences at sea?

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About Me

Hello!  My name's Debbie and I've worked in travel for 15 years.  When I say work that doesn't really sum it up properly.  Travel is my passion and I love  looking for my next holiday so helping you lovely people really isn't like work for me! I live with my…

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