A Norwegian cruise ship carrying 400 passengers and crew is being towed back to Germany after being pounded by a ‘rogue wave’ which knocked out its power during a ferocious storm in the North Sea.
The UK-bound MS Maud, which belongs to cruise company HX, a unit of Norway’s Hurtigruten Group, was sailing some 162 miles off Denmark’s west coast and about 217 miles off Britain’s east coast when the wave shattered windows on the bridge.
The ship had started a 14-day Northern Lights expedition sailing from Tilbury, in the UK, on December 9 and was due to return to the Essex port on December 23, meaning it is likely there are dozens of Brits on board.
Stomach-churning footage shared by passengers highlights just how choppy the conditions were, with the ship seen aggressively rocking up and down as it was ravaged by huge waves, while belongings were strewn across the floor.
The video, which was shared on Facebook, received dozens of comments from fellow passengers with one writing: ‘We’re watching films in our room. Every time we move we nearly go flying.’
MS Maud (pictured) had started a 14-day Northern Lights expedition sailing from Tilbury, in the UK, on December 9 and it was due to return to the Essex port on December 23
Footage shared from inside MS Maud shows the ship moving up and down aggressively, while items are strewn across the floor
The ship’s 266 passengers and 131 crew members were safe, a spokesperson for the Danish Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (DJRC) confirmed, adding that a vessel from civil rescue firm Esvagt had managed to connect a tow line to the cruise ship.
‘An Esvagt ship is towing it slowly towards Bremerhafen in Germany at around 8-9 knots,’ the spokesperson said.
The power outage caused the crew to lose its ability to navigate. However, the vessel’s main engine was still functioning, enabling the ship to be steered manually from the engine room.
MS Maud left Floroe in Norway on Thursday and was due to arrive in Tilbury in Britain on Friday.
Hurtigruten confirmed in a statement on Friday that the vessel was heading to Bremerhafen for disembarkation.
A spokesperson for HX said: ‘Yesterday afternoon, December 21, MS Maud reported a temporary loss of power after encountering a rogue wave. The ship was sailing towards Tilbury, UK from Florø, Norway when the incident occurred.
‘At this time, the ship has confirmed that no serious guest or crew injuries have been sustained as a result of the incident. The condition of the ship remains stable and the crew are able to sail under their own power.
‘Following ongoing safety checks and technical assessments, given the weather conditions, we decided to amend the planned sailing route. Across the fleet, there are thorough operational protocols in place and we always prioritise the safety of those onboard.
‘The ship is currently sailing to Bremerhaven, Germany for disembarkation. Our team are working to arrange onward travel back home for guests onboard.’
The area was hit by a storm late on Thursday with hurricane-force gusts blowing from the northwest, and they are forecasted to continue on Friday, the Danish Meteorological Institute said.
Another video shows the rough North Sea conditions as the crew had to be towed to Germany
The map shoes the route of MS Maud from Floroe to Tilbury before it lost navigation ability in the North Sea
The MS Maud – formerly known as the MS Midnatsol – got its name from a polar vessel from 100 years ago, according to its website.
The original vessel was named for the first queen of what’s come to be known as modern-day Norway.
The ship is outfitted with technology that its website claims makes it ‘exceptionally well-suited’ for cruises between Norway and the British Isles.
Journeys on the MS Maud cost anywhere between $3,000 and nearly $10,000.
It comes six weeks after a Saga cruise ship was battered by a storm (pictured) and ground to a halt in the Bay of Biscay, forcing passengers to ‘hold on for dear life’
It comes six weeks after a Saga cruise ship was battered by a storm and ground to a halt in the Bay of Biscay, forcing passengers to ‘hold on for dear life’.
The Spirit of Discovery cut short its two-week voyage and headed back to Portsmouth early to avoid the oncoming tempest when punishing winds and choppy waters caught up with it.
Around 100 of the 1,000 people on board were injured, the majority of whom were hurt as the ship’s safety system was activated, causing it to dramatically veer and shudder to a halt, according to Saga at the time.