Thursday, September 15, 2011


It is always nice to hear when a cruise-ship emergency is well-handled. When an engine room fire earlier today tragically killed two crewman and sent smoke spiraling through the Norwegian-registered MS Nordlys, the captain ordered the vessel to be evacuated.

COMMENT: Operator Hurtigruten ASA said nine other crew were taken to hospital, two with serious burns and smoke injuries. All 207 passengers, and most of the crew of 55, were evacuated into lifeboats and taken to safety in an orderly and calm fashion.

The emergency occurred at 0920 as the ship was due to call on the port of Aalesund, 230 miles northwest of the capital of Oslo. Aalesund, with a population of 42,000, is well-known as an art colony and a popular tourist attraction once voted to be the prettiest town in Norway.

The fire reportedly is now under control, although the vessel is taking on some water as she works her way toward shore.

The MS Nordlys is one of several ships that regularly cruise the Norwegian coast on the popular 1,500-mile stretch high above the Arctic Circle near the Russian border.

This emergency at sea is a sobering reminder to those who regularly take cruises, keeping in mind that cruise-ship emergencies tend to happen more frequently than previously, given the large volume of ships providing services to the cruising public worldwide. Hence, it is important to take emergency drills seriously and never take anything on board that cannot be replaced.

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