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MV Viking Sky: 2019 TLF and near-grounding.

MV Viking Sky: 2019 TLF and near-grounding.

MV Viking Sky: 2019 TLF and near-grounding.

Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority report into this accident just published.

"In the afternoon of 23 March 2019, the cruise vessel Viking Sky experienced a blackout, causing loss of propulsion and steering, in 24 m/s winds (BF9, strong gale force)31 with gusts to 29 m/s in the Hustadvika area of the Norwegian coast. The vessel is estimated to have come within a ship’s length of running aground with more than 1,300 persons on board, and the accident had the potential to develop into one of the worst disasters at sea in modern times."

Reading it, I'm mildly astonished that the MEs restored some level of propulsion as quickly as they did and utterly amazed that the whole event didn't end up being much, much worse.

Lessons everywhere - SOLAS requirements that seem to mean different things to almost everybody when you look into the detail, Classification Society Plan Approval on the basis of no real evidence (Shock! Horror!), Acceptance of instrumentation that doesn't really work measuring something important with a completely unknown target value, Breakdown of risk assessment in the decision to sail into hazardous waters and bad forecast weather with one DG unavailable, Missed opportunities to recognise impact of ship motion on Lub Oil levels and pressures based on earlier alarms and trips, An alarm system that just lit up like a christmas tree, leaving the team to work out what was cause, what was effect and what really mattered and Blackout Training and Procedures that always assumed there would be a serviceable standby machine to turn to. And there's more.

As the investigators say, "The fact that it ended relatively well has provided a unique opportunity to investigate an accident of disastrous potential with the benefit of having access to large amounts of data, an intact ship and live witnesses who can account for the situation they experienced." There's value here for everybody - not just the maritime world.


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