The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued the first part of its incident investigation report, regarding the loss of propulsion of the passenger cruise ship Norwegian Star on 10 February 2017 off Cape Liptrap, Victoria.
On 9 February 2017, the passenger cruise ship Norwegian Star, with 2113 passengers and 1017 crew on board, departed Melbourne, Australia, on a scheduled cruise to Dunedin, New Zealand. On departure, the starboard propulsion unit (Azipod ) was operational and the port Azipod was under repair. At about 0134 on 10 February, the vessel was about 18 nautical miles south-west of Cape Liptrap, Victoria, when the starboard Azipod failed. Propulsion power could not be restored and two tugs were deployed from Melbourne to tow Norwegian Star back to Melbourne. The vessel arrived back without further incident at about midnight on 11 February 2017.
Based on the preliminary information, the ATSB found that the Norwegian Star experienced three separate propulsion unit failures over a period of about nine weeks. In each case, the field exciter unit for the main propulsion motor failed. The first two failures (the starboard unit in December and the port unit in January) involved a breakdown of electrical insulation and the third failure (on 10 February 2017) related to a modification made to the starboard Azipod exciter unit during its earlier repair.
The investigation is ongoing and will focus on:
– the failures of the propulsion units
– vessel operation with one propulsion unit
– modifications to the propulsion systems.
Read the initial report and findings: ATSB-Loss-of-propulsion-of-the-Norwegian-Star-2017_04