Damaged Hurtigruten Cruise Ship Makes Slow Progress Toward Germany
The Norwegian cruise ship Maud (16,151 gross tons) is making slow progress now heading toward Germany after being damaged in a fierce North Sea storm. The storm, which is being called Pia in parts of Europe and elsewhere Zoltan, has left a path of destruction killing at least two people in the Netherlands and Belgium, with reports of widespread flooding along the Dutch coast and the Elbe in Hamburg, and for the first time in history, all the major flood control barriers in the Netherlands have been closed.
Hurtigruten Group, owners of the Maud, confirms that the ship is being redirected to Bremerhaven, Germany. The 266 passengers and 131 crew aboard are reported to be safe as the vessel progresses at approximately 10 knots. German media is saying the ship which was damaged mid-afternoon Thursday in a position approximately 200 miles from the Danish coast heading for the UK will now arrive in Bremerhaven on Saturday or Sunday.
(Catriona MacRae/Facebook Story)
Two offshore support vessels from Esvagt are assisting the Maud. Reports and pictures on social media from passengers said they were mustered and instructed on putting on survival suits after the waves broke the bridge windows causing the ship to initially lose power. One passenger says they were kept in survival suits and life jackets for nearly four hours. One motor was reportedly restarted but the ship has lost its navigational systems and radar.
Danish authorities confirmed that the first attempts to put a towline across were unsuccessful because of the high seas. Passengers said a line was put across and the Esvagt vessel was helping to turn the cruise ship when the towline parted. The captain of Maud reportedly said it was initially too rough to attempt to string a new line at that time, but later reports seem to indicate the tow has been established.
Passengers are posting videos showing the vessel rolling on the high seas. They are denying reports that they were confirmed to cabins but are saying it is difficult to move around the ship. Many passengers were reported to be sleeping on a lower lounge deck instead of returning to their cabins. A limited breakfast service was provided Friday morning in the lounges and with crewmembers circulating carts through the cabin areas. Passengers are praising the crew while saving there is extensive damage aboard the ship.
The 20-year-old ship was built for Hurtigruten’s Norwegian coastal service but was refurbished in 2021 and moved into the cruise operation which is today known as HX. The company confirmed a planned December 23 cruise from the UK for 13 nights to Norway is canceled.