Canadians on cruise ship that was stranded off Norway, one injured

Posted March 26, 2019

The passengers of the cruise ship Viking Sky that got stranded in rough seas off Norway praised the efficiency and helpfulness of the Filipino crew in the evacuation, the Philippine Embassy in Norway said on Sunday.

The ship's owner reported that 479 of the ship's 1,373 passengers and crew had been airlifted to shore before the ship departed Hustadvika Bay.

Rescue workers of Norway's western coast rushed to evacuate the 1300 passengers and crew from a disabled cruise ship by helicopter on Saturday (local time).

The airlift of passengers, many of them elderly, from the Viking Cruises ship by helicopter was halted on Sunday morning as two tugboats started steering the vessel toward the nearest port.

The ship was carrying 915 passengers, of whom "a large number" were from the United States and Britain. According to the company website, its passenger capacity is 930.

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The cruise's operator said 436 guests and 458 crew remained on board. "The ship drifted to within 100 metres of running aground before they were able to restart one of the engines", police chief Hans Vik, who heads the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre for southern Norway, told the TV2 broadcaster.

Roof panels fall from the ceiling and glasses shatter in the background as terrified passengers await rescuing.

The Viking Sky ship sent a distress signal Saturday due to engine problems in bad weather.

Viking Cruises said 20 people sustained injuries amid the storm and were receiving medical care in Norway.

The passengers are mostly British or American, they added.

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"The captain says he considers the situation for passengers on board to be safe", a spokesman for the rescue service said.

Passengers will begin travelling to their home destinations on Sunday, with many passengers having left Molde earlier this afternoon (evening in Norway).

Viking Sky, operated by Viking Ocean Cruises, is classified as a small ship, built in 2017 at a size of 745-feet, with a beam of 94.5-ft.

The ship was visiting the Norwegian towns and cities of Narvik, Alta, Tromso, Bodo and Stavanger before its scheduled arrival on Tuesday in the British port of Tilbury on the River Thames.

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