Cruise ship off Norway issues mayday; begins evacuations

Cruise ship off Norway issues mayday; begins evacuations

Emergency services said on Saturday they had begun airlifting 1,300 passengers from a cruise ship in trouble off the Norwegian coast.

To complicate matters, a cargo ship with nine people on board hit the same rough waters as the Viking Sky and some of the rescue helicopters had to be diverted for assistance.

An area of low pressure near Iceland is bringing gusty winds of 30 to 35 miles per hour to areas off the western coast of Norway where the ship is stranded, says weather.com meteorologist Linda Lam.


Police in the county of More og Romsdal say the ship has suffered engine problems, and all those aboard are being taken to shore.

"If we need to evacuate everyone, it will take a long time", rescue service spokesperson Einar Knudsen was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Some passengers have shared photos and videos of the ship's distress on Twitter. Passengers were suited up in orange life vests but the waves broke some ship windows and cold water flowed over the feet of some passengers. "It has dropped anchor and one of its engines is working", said a rescue centre spokesman, Borghild Eldoen.


Several helicopters and sea vessels have been dispatched to the location to evacuate people from the stalled ship.

According to the Associated Press, authorities told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK that the stormy weather was preventing rescue workers from using lifeboats as rescue vehicles.

The ship was visiting the Norwegian towns and cities of Narvik, Alta, Tromso, Bodo and Stavanger before its scheduled arrival Tuesday in the British port of Tilbury on the River Thames.


The Viking Sky ship, owned by Viking Ocean Cruises, was built in 2017 and can hold 930 guests, according to the company's website.

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