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[Updated with Probable Cause] Viking Sky Summary

The Viking Sky ordeal is over for now. Lets take a look at what remains.

UPDATE 3/27: The Norwegian Maritime Authorities have released a statement rather quickly pointing the blame at the oil levels in the Viking Sky’s lube-oil tanks.

For the present, our conclusion is that the engine failure was directly caused by low oil pressure.

Sjøfartsdirektoratet – 27/03/2019

As the ship was pitching and rolling in the storm off of Hustadvika the low levels of lube-oil were sloshing around and not going into the pipe openings. This caused the four engines to auto-stop so they don’t overheat. This also explains why it was difficult to restart them as they had to foce more oil into it while she was still violently moving in the seas.

Viking Ocean Cruises technical department in Norway also release this statement.

We welcome the prompt and efficient investigation carried out by the NMA and we fully understand and acknowledge their findings. We have inspected the levels on all our sister ships and are now revising our procedures to ensure that this issue could not be repeated. We will continue to work with our partners and the regulatory bodies in supporting them with the ongoing investigations.

Viking Ocean Cruises

You can check out out live play-by-play from Saturday as well as the conclusion from Sunday.

The ship will remain in Norway while they work on getting the rest of the passengers off, assessing the damage, and the investigation starts. So far they only canceled the cruise that will leave this week and the mid-April departure is apparently still a go.

Pool area (Arnfinn Mauren)

The past few days have been stressful and hectic for both guests and crew alike. I would like to personally apologize for what our guests experienced. I would also like to say how impressed and grateful I am for the efforts of the national rescue services, rescue personnel, local authorities and the people along the Møre coast, and thank them for the concern and generosity they have showed our guests. I would also like to express my thanks to the crew on board the Viking Sky for their efforts and dedication

– Torstein Hagen Viking Founder and CEO

Now that passengers are home or headed home we can now ask the important questions such as:

  • Why did the ship sail when Hurtigruten didn’t have their ships leave port?
  • Why did the Viking Sky sail so close to the shore in this bad of weather?
  • Why was there a very dangerous, very slow airlift of only half of the passengers ordered?
  • Why was the call to evacuate given when the ship appeared to be in seaworthy conditions?
  • Per SOLAS’s Safe Return To Port (SRTP) standards, a ship must serve as it’s own lifeboat since, as we’ve seen here, boarding lifeboats, rafts, and Marine Evacuation Systems.

The Norwegian Accident Investigation Board has decided to open an investigation into the incident. The US National Transportation Safety Board also asked to have a representative be present as well. This isn’t unheard of. While the Norwegians definitely have the manpower and skill-set to conduct a thorough investigation, the US would like an investigator there since there were over 300 american pax onboard. I expect the same from the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch as there were British pax and she was returning to the UK.

As incidents and disasters tend to go, there’s never just one thing that happens. There’s a chain of events that occur that when linked together create a much larger situation. In this case we must first find each and every occurrence before the picture gets clearer. Some of these won’t be made public for a few years when the NAIB releases their report.

A main focus of their investigation will be on the blackout and how it could have occurred. When you have this violent of movement of the vessel, it can cause sediment to get stirred up from the bunker tanks and clog the filter, however with SRTP standards there must be two of these. It would be quite the coincidence for both to simultaneously go.

This violent motion while in the storm could also cause other machinery to malfunction such as scuttles becoming open (as in the El Farro) or an imbalance in the seawater cooling system causing the generators to overheat.

Those two have been thrown around in Norwegian media so far but it’s way too early to start arguing and debating what caused this. (Don’t tell that to internet message boards though.)