Rough seas for cruise ships

Two passengers, a German man and an Italian man, are dead, after a so called “freak wave” hit Louis Cruise‘s MV Louis Majesty. News reports are unclear about the exact location – but off the southern coast of France / North East coast of Spain. The two passengers were killed on March 6th, 2010, by shards of glass and debris, resulting from the ship being hit by three large waves, described as 8 meter tall, hitting the vessel in the north western Mediterranean Sea. The waves broke the ships forward windows, causing flooding on the vessel. Another 6 to 14 passengers were also reported injured. The ship proceeded under its own power back to Barcelona, were the bodies were removed.

The MV Louis Majesty is the ex Norwegian Majesty previously sailing under the Norwegian Cruise Line banner. The DNV registered passenger ship was built in 1992, and now flies the flag of Malta. The 18 year old vessel has just been acquired by Piraeus based Louis Cruise Lines, in October of 2009, and went through two Port State inspections in recent months.

One of those PSC inspection, occurred in December, 2009, at Genoa, Italy, where 15 deficiencies were recorded. The other inspection occurred in Cadiz, Spain on the 20th of January, 2010, they where 7 deficiencies recorded. Although no detention orders were issued, the findings in these two PSC inspections were quite different from the 40 + previous PSC inspections, carried out in the United States, by the US Coast Guard.

The Louis Majesty has a GT of 40,876 tons, is 207 meters long, 28 meter wide and features 10 passenger decks with 732 staterooms. There were reportedly 1,350 passengers, and 580 crew members on board at the time of the accident. The ship was on a 12-day cruise from the ports of Genoa and Marseilles in the western Mediterranean, calling at Tangiers, Casablanca, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Cadiz, Cartagena, and Barcelona. Below, is a you tube video of the accident from on board the vessel.

In other cruise news, “my old alma mater”, Royal Caribbean’s MV Vision of the Seas, was ordered quarantined just off Buzios, on Brazil’s southeast coast, by Brazilian health authorities. This came on March 3rd, due to an outbreak of gastro intestinal issues, principally with the passengers. 1,987 passengers and 765 crew members were ordered to remain on the ship, while anchored near Rio de Janeiro, due to “at least 310 people” coming down with what Royal Caribbean calls “gastrointestinal disorder.” The ship later left the port a day later.

This article has 2 Comments

  1. It is hard to believe that a sea of 8 m would cause 3 deaths. After sailing the N Atlantic in much larger seas, I find it hard to believe this ship would not handle it.

  2. The ship looks pretty good all around, and in all the pictures it is certainly hard to understand how could this have happened. Then I ran across that picture at the top of the post, and to me, seem the accident was just delayed in happening.

    The ship probably "drove into" the sea, scooped up a great deal of water over the bow, on the foredeck, and the layout of the vessel, with the windows forward so low, and vertical, with no wave deflector, few freeing ports, and voila; you exceed the load that the windows are capable of handling.

    From far away, it seems to me like this accident was just a matter of time.

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