Expedition cruise ship loses power after being hit by dangerous wave

An expedition cruise ship temporarily lost power after it was hit by a violent wave on Thursday.

There were no serious injuries among guests or crew members on board the MS Maud ship, operated by HX, formerly Hurtigruten Expeditions. According to a spokesman, the ship was en route from Florø (Norway) to Tilbury (England) at the time.

The ship’s condition “remains stable and the crew is able to sail under its own power,” it said in an emailed statement. MS Maud carries 266 passengers and 131 crew members.

“Following ongoing safety checks and technical assessments, we have decided to change the planned sailing route given the weather conditions,” the spokesperson added. “Thorough operating protocols are in place across the fleet and the safety of those on board is always our priority.”

The ship is now heading to Bremerhaven, Germany, where passengers will disembark. The company’s team is working to organize the journey home for the guests.

According to the National Ocean Service, rogue waves, also called “extreme storm waves,” are more than twice the size of other nearby waves. They are unusual and unpredictable and “often come unexpectedly from directions other than the prevailing winds and waves.”

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“We work closely with health and safety experts, maintain highly qualified crew members and work with third-party providers and maritime authorities to ensure that strict measures are taken to prevent and manage potential crises,” said the HX spokesman.

A similar incident occurred last year on the Viking Polaris, in which one passenger was killed and four others were injured.

“Cruise lines and their home offices are constantly checking weather conditions to ensure the safest and smoothest courses,” Stewart Chiron, a cruise industry expert known as The Cruise Guy, told USA TODAY in an email. “Unfortunately, Mother Nature does not always cooperate and ships are currently forced to react.”

He said violent waves rarely hit cruise ships, but it was possible depending on the location and time of year.

Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at [email protected].