Relief and Questions After an Exceptional Sea Rescue in Norway (PHOTOS)

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The US agency responsible for transport safety (NTSB) offered to participate in the investigation, as some 600 Americans were among the passengers.

Why did the Viking Sky Cruise venture into clearly dangerous waters in the middle of a storm? Despite the relief caused by the successful outcome of an exceptional maritime rescue operation, many questions remain open in Norway.

The spectacular images have gone around the world: this great ship with 1,373 people hit by waves of up to 15 meters, the furniture moving dangerously in the interior from port to starboard, and in the sky the helicopters that went to evacuate the passengers. ..

The Viking Sky, which suffered an engine failure on Saturday off the coast of More og Romsdal (western Norway), was the subject of one of the largest rescue operations ever undertaken: about 500 passengers, many of them old, They were taken from the ship, often in the middle of the night, by an incessant helicopter ballet, in the middle of the storm.

And the human balance has been almost miraculous: 28 people hospitalized, but only one with serious injuries.

Relief and Questions After an Exceptional Sea Rescue in Norway

“The risk to passengers and to the ship was high,” said Dag Sverre Liseth , head of maritime affairs within the Norwegian accident investigation body. “It could have been worse, but happily everything ended well.”

The agency has opened an investigation because the case could end in tragedy: in effect, without a motor, the cruise moved towards the coastal waters where there are numerous reefs.

After having managed to start up its engines again, the cruise stabilized by dropping the anchor about two kilometers from the coast. Then, pulled by tugboats, the cruise ship entered the Norwegian port of Molde on Sunday around 4:15 p.m. (15h15 GMT), 26 hours after it launched its distress call.

Researchers must determine why the cruise that traveled from Tromsø (north) to Stavanger (southwest) ran the risk of entering waters where navigation is very delicate, and that when it had also been announced a storm.

“I do not want to speculate about it but it’s one of the aspects that will evaluate our research,” Liseth said.

Controversial decision?

The decision of the Finnish capital of the Viking Sky is perplexing, especially since the company Hurtigruten, whose famous coastal express runs along the coast throughout the year, had resigned that day to this stage, preferring to transport its passengers by plane.

Relief and Questions After an Exceptional Sea Rescue in Norway

“We have no particular opinion on whether it was controversial to do that,” said Eirik Walle, head of operations at the relief center for southern Norway, questioned by AFP.

“Although other boats decided to remain in port, there was a lot of maritime traffic at that time in that place,” he argues.

Viking Sky owner Torstein Hagen ruled out on Sunday that the decision to continue shipping was dictated by financial considerations.

“I would like to personally apologize for what our clients have had to do,” he said in a statement Monday, thanking authorities, rescuers and crew.

The US agency responsible for transport safety (NTSB) offered to participate in the investigation, as some 600 Americans were among the passengers.

 

Relief and Questions After an Exceptional Sea Rescue in Norway

They have begun to return to their countries, and they unanimously saluted the behavior of the crew, the rescuers and the population, once on the mainland.

“I must say: people have been amazing” said one of them to TV2 while waiting for his plane at Molde airport.

 

Source: Gestion