MV Viking Sky

MV Viking Sky is a cruise ship that was launched in 2016 and entered service in 2017. She is operated by Viking Ocean Cruises. On 23 March 2019, she suffered an engine failure off the coast of Norway. A partial evacuation by helicopters took place.[8]

Viking Sky in December 2018
Name: Viking Sky
Owner: Viking Ocean Cruises Ship II
Operator: Viking Ocean Cruises
Port of registry: Bergen, Norway
Ordered: July 2012[1]
Builder: Fincantieri
Cost: US$ 400 million[2]
Yard number: 6237
Laid down: 20 December 2013[3]
Launched: 23 March 2016[4]
Christened: June 2017
Completed: 26 January 2017[5]
Maiden voyage: 25 February 2017
In service: 2017–present
Status: In service
General characteristics [7]
Type: Cruise ship
Length: 228.2 m (748 ft 8 in)
Beam: 28.8 m (94 ft 6 in)
Draught: 6.45 m (21 ft 2 in)
Decks: 14
Ice class: 1C
Installed power:
  • 2 × MAN 9L32/44CR (2 × 5,040 kW)
  • 2 × MAN 12V32/44CR (2 × 6,720 kW)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric, two shafts (2 × 7,250 kW)
  • 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) (service)
  • 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) (maximum)
Capacity: 930 passengers in 465 cabins
Crew: 550

General characteristics

Viking Sky is 228.2 metres (748 ft 8 in) long overall, has a moulded beam of 28.8 metres (94 ft 6 in) and draws 6.45 metres (21 ft 2 in) of water at design draught. Her gross tonnage is 47,842,[6] net tonnage 18,858,[3] and deadweight tonnage 4,826 tons.[6] The ship's hull is strengthened for navigation in ice with Finnish-Swedish ice class 1C.[3]

Viking Sky has 465 cabins for passengers, all outside with balconies.[7] Amenities include two pools, a spa, a fitness center, two restaurants, several lounges and bars, a sports deck, a theatre, and various shops.[9]

Like most modern cruise ships, Viking Sky has a diesel-electric propulsion system where an integrated power plant provides electricity for all onboard consumers ranging from the vessel's twin propellers to hotel functions such as lighting, air conditioning and electrical sockets in the passenger cabins. Her two interconnected but physically separated high-voltage switchboards are supplied by four alternators driven by MAN 32/44CR series medium-speed diesel engines.[7][10][11]

In accordance with the Safe Return to Port requirements for passenger ships, the power plant is split to two engine rooms separated by watertight and fireproof bulkheads.[12] Each engine room houses one 9-cylinder 9L32/44CR engine rated at 5,040 kW (6,760 hp) and one 12-cylinder 12V32/44CR engine producing 6,720 kW (9,010 hp) each, a so-called "father and son" configuration.[13] In addition, Viking Sky has a single 1,390 kW (1,860 hp) Isotta Fraschini V1712T3 emergency diesel generator.[3][11]

For propulsion, electricity from the main switchboards is fed through propulsion transformers and pulse-width modulated variable-frequency drives to two 7,250-kilowatt (9,720 hp) asynchronous electric motors,[10][11] each driving a six-bladed fixed-pitch propellers with a diameter of 4.5 metres (15 ft).[14] This propulsion system gives Viking Sky a service speed of 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) and maximum speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph).[7] The ship's twin rudders feature Rolls-Royce's Promas system with streamlined propeller hubcaps and rudders that improve hydrodynamic performance.[14] In addition, she has two 2,800 kW (3,800 hp) bow thrusters and a single 1,400 kW (1,900 hp) stern thruster for manoeuvering in ports.[10]



Viking Sky is one of a series of cruise ships built by Fincantieri in Ancona, Italy, for Viking Ocean Cruises. As of 2019, she has five sister ships in operation (Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sun, Viking Orion and Viking Jupiter), one under construction (Viking Venus), five on order (Viking Tellus and four yet unnamed vessels) and four more planned with deliveries spanning to 2027.[3] Viking Sky was laid down on 20 December 2013,[3] launched on 23 March 2016, and delivered on 26 January 2017.[5][15] The ship was originally planned to set sail in 2016 as Viking Sea, but delivery was delayed until 2017. She was christened in June 2017 at Tromsø.[16] Her port of registry is Bergen.[15]

2019 incident

Timeline for MV Viking Sky[17][18][19][20]
23 March 2019
13:45Passes as planned through a 50 m (164 ft) deep section between reefs of 12–20 m (39–66 ft) underwater
13:50All engines shut down, speed 1.4 kn (2.6 km/h; 1.6 mph)
14:00Mayday reported, speed 5.9 kn (10.9 km/h; 6.8 mph) adrift southeast towards land
14:05Both anchors dropped, speed 9.4 kn (17.4 km/h; 10.8 mph)
14:36Anchors catch bottom, a few hundred meters from shallow reefs
15:00Order to evacuate. Speed 0.8 kn (1.5 km/h; 0.9 mph) away from shore
14:44 or 15:30First engine restarted, speed 5.1 kn (9.4 km/h; 5.9 mph) away from shore
14:30 or 16Evacuation starts, using 4–5 helicopters[21][22]
16:3087 people put on shore
19Freighter Hagland Captain loses engine power, two helicopters diverted and rescues all 9 in water[23]
night, 24 MarchThree engines working
morning300 people evacuated
08:00Tugboats (Ocean Response and Vivax[24]) attached to Viking Sky
9-10Evacuation stopped at 460 passengers, ship is being towed to Molde
15:11Mayday ended
16:20Viking Sky arrives at Molde with 436 passengers and 458 crew

On 23 March 2019 the cruise ship was en route southwest from Tromsø to Stavanger in Norway in strong winds and rough seas[25] with 15 meter high waves.[26] According to pilot(s) on board, the weather was well within the operational capability of the ship.[27] There were 1,373 people on board – 915 passengers and 458 crew.[28]

Around 13:50 in Hustadvika off the coast between Molde and Kristiansund, the ship suffered a loss of oil pressure,[13][29] resulting in an automatic shutdown of all engines and started drifting towards land.[30] The alarms for low lubricant level did not trigger. Engines can only run without lubricant for a few minutes before being damaged.[31] Rescue boats from shore had to return because of high seas. Anchors were dropped, and tugboats tried unsuccessfully to attach towlines to the ship.[32]

Six of Norway's 14[33] rescue helicopters were sent to the scene and evacuated passengers.[19][34][35][22] The crew of Viking Sky managed to restart one engine,[30] but evacuation continued.[36] "The ship only has one working engine and the winds are rather strong. Therefore we would prefer to have the passengers on land rather than on board the ship," police chief Tor Andre Franck said.[37]

After about five hours, 100 passengers had been evacuated, with at least four helicopters involved in the airlift. "It will take time to evacuate everyone," Franck said. The incident occurred mid-afternoon 1.1 nautical miles (2 km) off the Møre og Romsdal area of western Norway. One expert said that the ship had been around 100 metres (330 ft) from grounding.[38]

Around 19:00, two helicopters were diverted to rescue the crew of the cargo ship Hagland Captain,[39][40] which had been going to the aid of Viking Sky and also suffered an engine failure.[41][42] The Hagland crew bailed into the sea and were picked up by helicopters in the dark.[26][19][43]

Sky's anchors were released (one pulled on board, one left behind) to move the ship further offshore.[32] The concentration of Norwegian helicopters in the Hustadvika area caused rescue responsibility for Skagerrak to be transferred to Denmark and Sweden, and a Danish rescue helicopter was repositioned to Kristiansand in South Norway. Great Britain was ready to supply assistance if needed.[19]

At 24:00 local time, roughly 170 passengers had been evacuated by helicopter. The ship was moving heavily in the storm with furniture sliding back and forth.[20] On 24 March, after three of the four engines had been restarted during the night, evacuation was stopped at 9 Sunday morning, and Viking Sky got under way and headed for Molde.[28][44] Four hundred and seventy-nine people had been airlifted off the ship during 30 helicopter trips.[41][33] Sixteen people had been taken to hospital; three of them suffering serious injuries.[45]

Viking Sky went to Molde under her own power but attached to a tug, as Sky's anchors were no longer operable,[46] and reached Molde at 16:30 on 24 March.[39][47][48] On 27 March she arrived at a shipyard in Kristiansund for repairs,[49] and its next cruise was cancelled.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway has opened an investigation, including why the ship sailed despite storm warnings having been issued. The corresponding agencies of the United Kingdom and United States will participate.[50][51] Norwegian police are conducting a separate inquiry and both Lloyd's Register of Shipping and the engine makers are involved onboard.[52] It was published in a preliminary report on 27 March that the reason for the engine failure was that the boat movements caused problems with supply to the lubricating oil pumps which stopped.[53]


  1. "FincantieriI and Viking sign a contract for the construction of two cruise ships". 12 July 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  2. "Cruise Ship Orderbook". 6 January 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  3. "Viking Sky (9650420)". Sea-web. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  4. "Viking Sky ist aufgeschwommen auf Fincantieri Werft" (in German). 23 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  5. "Viking Sky Delivered". Cruise Industry News. 26 January 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  6. "Viking Sky (9650420)". Equasis. French Ministry for Transport. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  7. "Datasheet" (PDF). Fincantieri. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  8. "Cruise ship evacuating 1,300 passengers off Norway". CNN. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  9. "Viking Ocean Cruises – Viking Sea deck plans". Viking Ocean Cruises. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  10. "Cruise Liners - Wärtsilä SAM Electronics - Page n° 8 - PDF Catalogs | Documentation | Boating Brochures". p. 9. Retrieved 28 March 2019. Cruise Liners "Viking Star", "Viking Sky" and "Viking Sea"
  11. Vadset, Kurt (12 April 2017). "Viking Sky (04/2017)". Maritimt Magasin (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  12. Stensvold, Tore (27 March 2019). "Sjøfartsdirektoratet opplyser om hvorfor cruiseskipet Viking Sky fikk blackout". (in Norwegian). Teknisk Ukeblad. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  13. Stensvold, Tore (27 March 2019). "Svikt i smøreoljeforsyning slo ut alle fire motorene på Viking Sky". (in Norwegian). Teknisk Ukeblad. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  14. "A Star is born" (PDF). Rolls-Royce. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  15. "M/S Viking Sky" (in Swedish). Fakta om Fartyg. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  16. "Viking Sky Christened". 23 June 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  17. Sondre Nilsen og Ingvild Silseth. "Slik var det dramatiske døgnet for Viking Sky". VG Nett. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  18. Roaldseth, Sara Lovise (28 March 2019). "Hør dramatikken på Hustadvika" (in Norwegian Bokmål). NRK. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  19. Korsnes, Malin Kjellstadli (6 April 2019). "Den enorme redningsaksjonen" (in Norwegian Nynorsk). NRK. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  20. "Cruiseskip i trøbbel utanfor Møre og Romsdal – 1300 blir evakuerte" [Cruise ship in trouble outside Møre og Romsdal – 1300 are evacuated] (in Norwegian). NRK. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  21. "Redningsflyger: – Et nytt helikopter sto hele tiden klar for å evakuere". Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  22. Huber, Mark (15 April 2019). "CHC Plays Pivotal Role In Massive Cruise Ship Rescue". Aviation International News. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  23. "Mannskapet måtte hoppe på sjøen: – Det var alvorlig". Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  24. "Kapteinen på slepebåten "Vivax": – Vi hadde ikke gjort det om vi ikke var helt nødt". Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  25. "Norway airlifting 1,300 passengers off SOS cruise ship". MSN. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  26. "Maritime Casualty Report" (PDF).
  27. "Viking Sky-los reagerer på spekulasjonene om seilas-avgjørelsen". (in Norwegian). Teknisk Ukeblad. 26 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019. Ifølge losen ville båten klart seg fint forbi det åpne og farlige havstykket dersom den ikke hadde fått motorhavari .. dette er et fartøy som er over to hundre meter langt og ti meter bredere enn Hurtigruten
  28. "Gestrand cruiseschip kan weer varen" [Stranded cruise ship can sail again] (in Dutch). De Telegraaf. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  29. "Press release: Viking Sky - Norwegian Maritime Authority". 27 March 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  30. Noëth, Bart (23 March 2019). "Engine failure on cruise ship Viking Sky; passengers evacuated by helicopters amid storm at sea". Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  31. Stensvold, Tore (29 March 2019). "Eksperter tviler på at lavt smøreoljenivå er hele forklaringen". (in Norwegian). Teknisk Ukeblad. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  32. "Ankerkjettingen på "Viking Sky" måtte kappes". (in Norwegian). Haugesunds Avis. 25 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  33. Topdahl, Rolv Christian (4 April 2019). "Her er Norges ukjente helter" (in Norwegian Bokmål). NRK. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  34. Vilde Brandtzæg Clausen; Gunnar Ringen Johansen. "Jobben som ble gjort mangler sidestykke". TV 2 (in Norwegian Bokmål). TV 2 (Norway). Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  35. Stranden, Ingrid Lindgaard (24 March 2019). "Redningsflyver var i lufta i 12 timer i strekk". NRK (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  36. Eldering, Paul. "Reddingsheli's vliegen hele nacht voor cruiseschip in nood" [Emergency helicopters flying all night for cruise ship in danger] (in Dutch). De Telegraaf. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  37. Deshayes, Pierre-Henry (24 March 2019). "Norway tugs tow stricken liner after hundreds airlifted to safety". Agence France Pressé. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  38. Roaldseth, Sara Lovise (24 March 2019). "– Skipet har vært skrekkelig langt inne". NRK. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  39. "Norway cruise ship evacuated after engine problems". BBC News Online. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  40. Sør-Norge, H. R. S. (23 March 2019). "#Hustadvika: Lasteskipet "Hagland Captain" mistet rettfør kl 19 motorkraft og fikk slagside ni området cruiseskipet er i. To redningshelikoptreer omdirigert for å bistå denne havaristen. Evakuering fra cruiseskip blirnoe forsinket, men alle om bord der anses som trygge". @HRSSorNorge (in Norwegian). Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  41. "Britons tell of 'frightening' Norway cruise ship rescue". BBC News Online. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  42. Stensvold, Tore (26 March 2019). "Årsak til motorstansen: Brottsjø førte til kortslutning i tavle" (in Norwegian). Teknisk Ukeblad. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  43. Hole, Synnøve (23 March 2019). "Mannskapet hoppa i bølgjene for å redde livet". NRK (in Norwegian Nynorsk). Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  44. CNN, Susannah Cullinane, Nicole Chavez and Eliza Mackintosh. "Passengers disembark cruise ship with tales of terrifying conditions". CNN. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  45. "Airlifted cruise ship passengers talk of 'scary' ordeal". Sky News. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  46. "Viking Sky - Passenger ship, IMO 9650420, MMSI 259186000, Callsign LAYU7, Flag Norway -". Vesseltracker (Genscape). Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  47. "Norway cruise ship arrives at port after passenger airlifts". BBC News Online. 24 March 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  48. Korsnes, Malin Kjellstadli (24 March 2019). "Her legg på Viking Sky til kai i Molde". NRK (in Norwegian Nynorsk).
  49. "Viking Sky cruise ship engines cut out because oil level was too low for rough seas, investigators reveal". The Telegraph. London. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  50. "Norway investigating 'high risk' decision to expose cruise ship to storm". ITV News. 25 March 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  51. "Marine: Current Investigations". Accident Investigation Board Norway. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  52. Meade, Richard (25 March 2019). "Investigators board Viking Sky as questions are raised over engine failure". Lloyd's List. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  53. "Norway: Low Lube Oil Pressure Led to Viking Sky Blackout". 28 March 2019. Retrieved 8 April 2019.

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