Viking Polaris accident findings

Viking Polaris investigation findings

DRAKE PASSAGE: Heavy seas are common between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans Photo credit: CC/Lewnwdc/77

A PROBE into the death of a passenger aboard the Viking Polaris who was killed when a rogue wave hit the cruise ship has now concluded.

The Norwegian authorities announced that “under-dimensioned” cabin windows were responsible for the November 2022 accident which took the life of 62-year-old Sherri Xiaonong Zhu, a US citizen, who was struck by the shattered glass. Four other passengers were also injured.

The Bergen-registered ship was south-east of Cape Horn, sailing towards the port of Ushuaia in southern Argentina, when it was hit by the wave which broke the large glass windows of seven cabins.

Havarikommisjonen (Accident Commission) investigators found that the windows were not designed to withstand the immense pressure of the freak wave, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) corporation reported. 

Commission members pointed out that heavy waves were common in the rough waters of the Drake Passage which links the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.  The Havarikommisjonen investigators recommended that all shipping and cruise lines operating in that area should take this into account.

They also raised concerns that although the Viking Polaris met all current design standards these were insufficient for the sea conditions the cruise ship had encountered.

The commission advised both the Norwegian maritime directorate and the Viking Expedition Ship II Ltd, which owns the Viking Polaris, that changes needed to be made regarding safety standards.

“This is probably a worldwide challenge for the shipping industry,” Dag Liseth, one of the investigators, admitted to the NRK.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at