‘Viking Sky’ breakdown likely caused by low oil pressure

2019-03-31T16:13:05+00:00 March 31st, 2019|Safety|

The Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) has granted Viking Ocean Cruises a permit to allow the crippled ‘Viking Sky’ to sail on a single voyage to Kristiansund to undergo repairs.

Throughout 26th March, the NMAworked together with the ship’s class society, Lloyd’s Register, and the company in order to identify the reason why the the cruise ship suffered a powerblackoutat Hustadvika in bad weather on 23rd March.

NMA’s initial conclusion was that the engine failure was directly caused by low oil pressure. The level of lubricating oil in the tanks was within set limits, however relatively low, when the vessel started to cross Hustadvika.

The tanks were provided with level alarms, however these had not been triggered at the time. The heavy seas in Hustadvika probably caused so much movement in the tanks that the supply to the lubricating oil pumps stopped.

In turn, this triggered an alarm indicating a low level of lubrication oil, which shortly thereafter caused the engines to automatically shutdown.

The NMA drew up a general safety notice about ensuring a continuous supply of lubricating oil to engines and other critical systems in poor weather conditions. This should be undertaken in co-operation with the engine supplier and, moreover, be included in the ship’s risk assessments in the safety management system (SMS).

Viking Ocean Cruises issued the following statement: “We welcome the prompt and efficient investigation carried out by the NMA and we fully understand and acknowledge their findings. We have inspected the levels on all our sisterships and are now revising our procedures to ensure that this issue could not be repeated. We will continue to work with our partners and the regulatory bodies in supporting them with the ongoing investigations,”

‘Viking Sky’ left Molde on 27thMarch under her own power for Kristiansund with a tug escort.

Following the incident, the Clean Arctic Alliance called for an end to heavy fuel oil use.

“According to reports, the Norwegian Coastal Administration (Kystverket) has said that the ‘Viking Sky’ was reported to be carrying 343 tonnes of HFO on board, along with 465 tonnes of diesel,” Dr Sian Prior, Lead Advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance said.“The grounding of the vessels created a strong risk of an oil spill, which would have been devastating for the environment and local communities.”

“This summer, similar cruise ships carrying thousands of passengers will sail in Arctic waters and in other vulnerable regions, far from search and rescue facilities, including helicopters and tugs. In addition to the risk to lives, most of these vessels will be powered by oil-based fuels, including HFO, which pose a grave risk to the Arctic environment, and to the livelihoods of local Indigenous people. A spill of HFO is likely to take from months to years to be completely cleaned-up,” she said.