Norwegian Cruise Breaks Free from Moorings

Norwegian Cruise line, Norwegian Prima

. The force of the wind caused the ship to break free from several mooring ropes. Image:

Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest vessel, the Norwegian Prima, experienced a momentary mishap while docked in Zeebrugge, Belgium. Strong winds caused the ship to break free from its moorings, resulting in the gangways falling into the water. Fortunately, no guests or crew members were injured during this incident.

Incident Description

During the afternoon of July 15, 2023, the Norwegian Prima encountered exceptionally windy conditions while docked in Zeebrugge, Belgium. The force of the wind caused the ship to break free from several mooring ropes, resulting in the vessel drifting away from the pier. As a consequence, both gangways, first the forward and then the aft, were dragged and eventually fell into the water.

Thankfully, at the time of the incident, there were no guests or crew members on the gangways, ensuring that no injuries occurred. The occurrence took place at approximately 2.45 pm, prompting immediate action to rectify the situation and secure the ship.

Response and Safety Measures

Three tugboats were promptly deployed to assist in bringing the 143,535-gross-ton cruise ship back to the dock. These tugboats effectively maneuvered the vessel and safely returned it to its berth, ensuring a secure tie-up. The high winds exerted considerable force on the 20-deck ship, adding strain to the mooring ropes and necessitating swift action to prevent further drift.

Weather Conditions

During its visit to Zeebrugge, Norwegian Prima was docked from 7 am to 5 pm local time. Throughout this period, wind speeds ranged from 6 to 18 knots (11 to 34 kilometres per hour). Notably, gusts reached as high as 43 knots (50/ 80 kph). It was during one of these gusts that the mooring lines snapped, leading to the temporary drift of the ship.

Passenger Experience

Most of the cruise passengers were ashore, enjoying the final port of call on their 10-night ‘Northern Europe: Island & Norway to London’ itinerary. As the incident unfolded, guests who were present on the pier were held ashore until Norwegian Prima was securely re-anchored and new gangways were put in place. Although the sunken gangways will be retrieved later, they did not impact the ship’s scheduled departure. Following the incident, the Norwegian Prima resumed its voyage as planned. It departed Zeebrugge on Saturday evening and arrived on time in Southampton on Sunday morning.

The temporary drift of Norwegian Prima in Zeebrugge serves as a reminder of the impact that high winds can have on large vessels. The safety of passengers and crew members is always the top priority, and the crew swiftly responded to ensure everyone’s well-being. Norwegian Cruise Line is conducting an investigation into the incident.

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!