Low oil pressure likely caused Viking Sky engine failure

Viking Sky was granted a permit to sail on a single voyage to Kristiansund to have necessary repairs Viking Sky was granted a permit to sail on a single voyage to Kristiansund to have necessary repairs PHOTO: Erik Johan Landa, Sjøfartsdirektoratet

Investigators believe low engine pressure led to Viking Sky's engine failure on Saturday when the ship was in stormy weather off the coast of Norway.

'The level of lubricating oil in the tanks was within set limits, however relatively low, when the vessel started to cross Hustadvika,' the Norwegian Maritime Authority said Wednesday. 'The tanks were provided with level alarms, however these had not been triggered at this time. The heavy seas in Hustadvika probably caused movements in the tanks so large that the supply to the lubricating oil pumps stopped. This triggered an alarm indicating a low level of lubrication oil, which in turn shortly thereafter caused an automatic shutdown of the engines.'

General safety notice

The NMA has drawn 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 done in cooperation with the engine supplier and, moreover, be included in the ship’s risk assessments in the safety management system, NMA said.

Viking Cruises welcomed the 'prompt and efficient investigation carried out by the NMA,' and said it fully understands and acknowledges the findings. 'We have inspected the levels on all our sister ships and are now revising our procedures to ensure that this issue could not be repeated,' the line said. 'We will continue to work with our partners and the regulatory bodies in supporting them with the ongoing investigations.'

Move to Kristiansund for repairs

NMA reached its finding after granting Viking Sky a permit to sail on a single voyage from Molde, where the ship had been docked since Sunday, to Kristiansund to have necessary repairs made. Throughout the night, the NMA worked together with the ship's classification society, Lloyd’s Register, and the company in order to identify the cause of the blackout.

'We will follow up the ongoing work to rectify damages on vessels,' NMA said. 'Furthermore, we will continue the constructive dialogue with the classification society, company and the Norwegian Accident Investigation Board in order to reveal underlying causes and identify appropriate measures.'

Posted 27 March 2019

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review