River Cruise Ship Evacuated After Possible Battery Explosion

explosion and fire in battery power on river cruise ship
Explosion and fire was reported on one of the new hybrid power Viking river cruise ships (Neptun Werft)

Published Jul 27, 2022 5:31 PM by The Maritime Executive

Dutch officials are investigating an explosion aboard a river cruise ship docked in Amsterdam as a likely malfunction of the vessel’s battery power system. The newly launched Viking Gymir, which was introduced by Viking for river cruises on the Rhine in 2022, features a new hybrid propulsion system that was developed in place of solely diesel propulsion on Viking’s other Longships.

According to reports from the Amsterdam fire brigade, they were summoned to the vessel Monday, July 25 around 6:30 p.m. after reports of an explosion in the engine room followed by a small fire. Pictures posted on social media show the fire teams venting the ship. Testing is reportedly ongoing to determine what if any substances or toxins might have been released.

The river cruise ship was preparing to depart from Amsterdam when the explosion occurred. Reports indicate that were approximately 200 passengers aboard. At the time of the explosion, however, passengers had gathered in the lounge for a briefing from staff. They were quickly evacuated to the pier with no reports of injuries. Approximately nine crew members however were treated by the medical personnel for smoke inhalation.

Passengers reported that Viking moved them to an alternate ship for dinner. Later they were taken to a nearby hotel. Fire crews remained at the ship venting it and testing the air quality before the crew was permitted to reboard. Viking now reports that the ship is operational but it is unclear when it would resume sailing.



The 443-foot long river cruise ship was built by Neptun Werft and delivered to Viking in 2021 as the last of a 65-ship class of riverboats Viking calls Longboats. The class of ships was first introduced in 2010 and became the basis of Viking river cruise operations in Europe.

The Viking Gymir and her sister ship Viking Egdir were part of the final five ships of the class to be built and they were outfitted with a new hybrid propulsion system. According to Neptun Werft, in the past, a total of five engines for power generation were installed on the ships. 

The newest ships instead are outfitted with three diesel engines combined with a battery pack. The battery solution, Green Orca 1050, provided by EST-Floattech provides a reported 745.5 kWh of capacity. The batteries are being used in place of auxiliary engines and can also provide the energy required during peak loads. The engines, according to Neptun Werft can be run in the optimal range with the use of the battery so that they consume less fuel and produce fewer exhaust gases.

According to EST-Floattech, its energy storage system has a raft of integrated safety features. “Its unique active balancing and passive safety system is applied at the module and string level. Heat is dissipated by a simple off-the-shelf aircon unit.” Their website says the battery racks are a favorable option as they can easily be installed in a modular fashion.