Call for Assistance After Hurtigruten's Maud is Damaged in North Sea Storm
The Norwegian cruise ship Maud issued an emergency call on Thursday afternoon, December 21, reporting that the vessel had lost power and navigational capabilities during a fierce winter storm in the North Sea. Later reports said that the passenger ship was requesting a tow after having restored power to its main engine.
The 16,151 gross ton cruise ship owned by Hurtigruten Group and operating for its expedition cruise company HX was nearly in the middle of the North Sea when it reported that its bridge windows had been shattered by a wave. The area is experiencing a strong winter storm, named Pia by the weather services, which is causing widespread damage in the region. Denmark reporting power outages, flooding, and severe conditions.
Weather in the North Sea was reporting winds at Force 8, up to approximately 30 knots, and sea running at seven to eight meters (approximately 22 to 26 feet). The Maud, which was built in 2003 and is approximately 445 feet (137.75 meters) in length, reported that the wave broke the bridge windows, flooding the bridge, and causing a brief loss of power. The Danish Defense Operations Center which coordinated maritime rescues reports the vessel was able to restart its main engine but it is without navigational systems and its radar. Steering was being managed from the engine room with the AIS signal showing the vessel now moving at approximately 3 knots.
Unconfirmed reports indicated that the 266 passengers onboard had initially been called to their muster stations but that no one was seriously injured. There are also 131 crewmembers aboard. At the time the ship was hit by the wave, it was approximately 200 miles east of the UK heading for the port of Tilbury and 120 miles west of Denmark after having departed Norway. It was scheduled to arrive in the UK on Friday.
Danish offshore services company Esvagt sent several vessels to aid the Maud. As of late on Thursday night, the Esvagt Server and Esvagt Cornela are alongside the cruise ship while at least two other Esvagt ships appear to have left the scene. Esvagt was preparing to tow the cruise ship.
Hurtigruten issued a statement calling the incident a “rogue wave” and saving that everyone aboard the vessel was safe. The Danish authorities confirmed that the situation was stable and that they believed the cruise ship was in no immediate danger. Rescue services in the region however have been put on standby with helicopters if needed and the Danish authorities are continuing to monitor the situation.