Norwegian Dawn Aground, Then Freed Off Coast Of Bermuda, Steering System Blamed

The Norwegian Dawn ran aground off shore in Bermuda, and has been freed. No casualties were reported, despite the ship’s sudden stop as it veered off course.

The vessel, which played host to 2,443 passengers and a little less than half that in crew, was said to have lost power suddenly shortly after beginning its 7-night voyage. The power outage was temporary, however, as everything was back to normal aside from the ship’s forward momentum as it struck the Bermuda reef.

The cruise’s official site released the following statement yesterday.

“On Tuesday, May 19th at approximately 5:00 pm ET, Norwegian Dawn had a temporary malfunction of its steering system, causing the ship to sail slightly off course as the ship was departing Bermuda, resulting in the vessel making contact with the sea bed. All guests and crew are safe and there were absolutely no injuries.”

After finding the Norwegian Dawn aground, the crew raced to investigate, according to ABC News. Eventually, the tide shifted and allowed the ship to free itself. At this point, the crew had floated it to a safe anchoring point, where it sat overnight.

It is yet unknown if the passengers will be returned to their point of origin or sent ahead on a different cruise ship, but a full investigation has been opened on the incident.

It was determined that the power outage caused a steering system malfunction to run the ship off course and hit the channel bed beneath. No leaks or water pollution have been discovered, according to Chief Maritime Operations Controller Denis Rowe.

While the passengers waited, one of note, 19-year-old Coastal Carolina University student Rachel Hansen, took the opportunity to snap some photos for Twitter, showing what could be the inspection teams. She said the passengers kept calm as inspections were made.

“My family and I were sitting down having dinner and we felt a sudden stop in the cruise ship. The cruise captain, I assume, came on over the PA system and ordered a distress call, and a bunch of the crew that were serving us dinner sprinted out.”

It is doubtful after having run the Norwegian Dawn aground that the cruise will continue, though as the passengers await further information, the ship is otherwise fully operational.

Petty Officer Lanola Stone of the Coast Guard in Massachusetts said the ship faces the possibility of having its passengers disembark and continue the voyage on another ship, according to CNN. Safety could be at risk if the previously aground Norwegian Dawn is put back on course. Until the ship is fully inspected and necessary repairs are made to ensure it doesn’t happen again, the Norwegian Dawn might not be going anywhere.

[Images via Rachel Hansen / Twitter, Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons]