The AIBN (Accident Investigation Board of Norway) has published its accident report following the engine failure on the Norwegian cruise ship Viking Sky during a storm in the Norwegian sea, which resulted in the vessel drifting in rough waters just 100 meters of land.
On March 23, 2019, the cruise vessel experienced a black-out and loss of propulsion in gale to storm force conditions in the Hustadvika area of the Norwegian Coast. The master immediately sent out a mayday as the ship drifted towards shore.
Viking Sky was manned by 458 crew and was carrying 915 passengers. Most of the passengers were US (602) and UK (197) citizens, followed by Australians (69) and other nations (47).
The subsequent inspections following the incident resulted in no damage to the vessel’s hull.
The key findings from the investigation by the Accident Investigation Board of Norway found that:
– The lubricating oil sump tanks of all the diesel generators were maintained at 28% – 40% capacity. MAN’s recommendation was to maintain them at 68% – 75% capacity.
– The diesel generators shut down as a result of the loss of lubricating oil suction due to low sump tank levels, combined with pitching and rolling.
– All three operational diesel generators shut down within 19 minutes of each other, causing a blackout and loss of propulsion.
After the incident, Wilhelmsen Ship Management distributed a Safety Bulletin including recommendations to all their vessels.
Also, the company set several actions to be taken after internally investigating the incident. Now, they are reviewing the management of appropriate lubricating oil levels in operational machinery, the preparations for heavy weather and the instructions regarding blackout recovery.
In collaboration with Class, they are establishing procedures for sailing with one engine, or other critical equipment, inoperative while maintaining compliance with the Safe Return to Port requirements.
In late May, the Norwegian Maritime Authority published a Safety Message on risk assessment, according to which all shipping companies must take the necessary precautions to ensure the supply of lubricating oil to engines and other critical systems under expected weather conditions. This should be done in collaboration with the engine supplier and included as part of the ship’s risk assessments in the safety management system.
All vessel owners and operators are recommended to ensure that engine lubricating oil tank levels are maintained in accordance with engine manufacturer’s instructions and topped up in the event of poor weather being forecast.