Damaged Cruise Ship Maud Arrives in Bremerhaven After North Sea Ordeal
The Norwegian cruise ship Maud, which had been damaged in a fierce North Sea storm, arrived in Bremerhaven, Germany, on Saturday, December 23, after a nearly 48-hour ordeal. The passengers praised the officers and crew of the vessel for their management of the situation and the fast response by rescue vessels, although for 20 minutes passengers feared the cruise ship might founder or capsize as they were tossed powerless in the North Sea.
With partial power back but no navigational systems or radar on the bridge, the Maud (16,151 gross tons) was able to reach Bremerhaven on Saturday afternoon. She was accompanied by the ocean-going supply ship Esvagt Server (2,400 dwt) on the trip from a position approximately 120 miles west of Denmark where she was disabled by a large wave on Thursday afternoon. Initially, several Esvagt vessels operating in the North Sea went to the aid of the cruise ship while rescue services in several countries were also alerted to the situation.
Reporting on the situation on social media passengers said the cruise ship was moving under its own power at 10 knots. Friday the Esvagt vessel attached a towline to assist the Maud in turning in the North Sea but the towline parted. Later a new towline was established, but it appears the vessel was able to make better speed without the tow permitting it to reach Germany today. Previously, they had not expected to arrive in port until sometime on Sunday.
The final drama of the trip came Saturday as the cruise ship reached the Weser. While the storm had abated, conditions were still rough so it was determined to fly the port pilot to the cruise ship by helicopter. Two port tugs attacked lines at the bow and stern to help the cruise ship reach the Columbus Cruise Terminal in Bremerhaven.
Earlier reports had said all the passengers were safe but the German media reports that three of the 266 passengers aboard were disembarked and taken to a hospital for medical treatment. Passengers reported scrapes, bruises, and possibly some broken bones from when the ship was moving violently in the North Sea. One passenger was seen walking from the ship to be taken to the hospital. The other passengers are remaining aboard overnight and will be taking flights from Germany on Sunday to the cruise’s planned final destination in the UK.
Pictures in the German media show two windows on the bridge of the cruise ship boarded over. No other external damage was visible, but onboard photos show overturned furniture and decorations. Life jackets and the survival suits passengers donned on Thursday afternoon are also piled around the ship.
Media reports said that inspectors and damage teams boarded the cruise ship shortly after it reached Bremerhaven. The Maud is expected to remain at the cruise terminal until December 27 and then be shifted to the Bredo Dry Docks in Bremerhaven to begin repairs. Online comments are that the cruise ship is not expected to return to service until February 2024.