Viking Sky Engine Failure Caused by Low Oil Level

Mar 27, 2019

After investigating the incident Norwegian Maritime Authority announced today that the cruise ship Viking Sky motors failed because of relatively low oil levels in the engines. Lars Alvestad, the head of Norway's Maritime Authority, said that low oil levels were the "direct cause" of the engine failure that stranded Viking Sky over the weekend while the vessel was sailing from Tromso to Stavanger with 1,400 passengers and crew on board.

"The level of lubricating oil in the tanks was within set limits, however relatively low, when the vessel started to cross Hustadvika, " the Norwegian Maritime Authority said in a statement. "The heavy seas in Hustadvika probably caused movements in the tanks so large that the supply to the lubricating oil pumps stopped. This triggered an alarm indicating a low level of lubrication oil, which in turn shortly thereafter caused an automatic shutdown of the engines, "NMA said. 

Viking Sky was in a very dangerous situation when the engines failed on Saturday with gusts up to 43 mph and waves over 26 feet in the area. This caused the vessel to issue a mayday call and lower the anchor to keep the ship from hitting the rocks.

The operation ended on Sunday when the crew managed to restart the engines while 479 people had already been airlifted. The ship arrived by its own means to a Norwegian port with almost 900 passengers and crew on board. Dozens of people were injured from the emergency, including 36 who had to be hospitalized. Four crew members were hospitalized including one in intensive, but stable condition.

Viking Ocean Cruises said the company is revising its procedures to ensure the incident doesn't happen again.

"We have inspected the levels on all our sister ships and are now revising our procedures to ensure that this issue could not be repeated," the statement said. "We will continue to work with our partners and the regulatory bodies in supporting them with the ongoing investigations.”

Viking Sky is now heading to Kristiansund, Norway, where it will undergo the necessary repairs. Viking Ocean Cruises has canceled only the March 27 voyage of the Viking Sky on, and it expects the ship to return to the sea in April.