Passenger vessel collides with tanker near Port of Antwerp

Viking River Cruise ship. Credit Viking Cruises

A Viking River Cruises riverboat has collided with a chemical tanker near to the Dutch town of Terneuzen while sailing in the Western Scheldt shipping route into the Port of Antwerp, Belgium.

The 135-metre-long Viking Idun was carrying 171 passengers and 44 crew when it crashed into the side of the 14,300-dwt chemical tanker Chemical Marketer in the early hours of April 1.

Operated by Chemship BV, Chemical Marketer was transporting petroleum cargo loaded in Turkey with a final destination of Antwerp. Passengers onboard the Viking Idun were en route from Antwerp to Ghent as part of the Tulips and Windmills cruise, which starts and ends in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Damages to both vessels were limited to above the water line with Viking Idun also suffering damage to her bow. No evacuations were required and neither of the vessels took on water. Local authorities have indicated that Chemical Marketer‘s cargo remains intact and no pollutions spills have occurred as a result of the collision.

The official Viking Cruises-issued statement reads: “Viking Idun was sailing from Antwerp to Ghent. No guests were injured. The ship sustained some damage near the bow and is currently docked in with all guests. While damage of the ship is being assessed, guests will continue with a modified version of the itinerary. We hope to have the ship in operation in time for its next departure on 4 April. If that is not be possible, future guests will be accommodated on another Viking longship. Viking’s customer relations team will communicate directly with the guests or their travel agents.”

Although Viking Cruises has since confirmed via press statement that none of the guests or crew on board the Viking Idun were injured, it has been widely reported that five passengers did in fact sustain minor injuries. Of those injured passengers onboard, one required further examination at the local hospital. Eyewitness have backed up these claims, stating that there were ambulances waiting for passengers when Viking Idun docked in Terneuzen. It has also been confirmed that no crew onboard the Chemical Marketer were injured.

The cause of the incident remains to be under investigation by the Dutch authorities. This is the second major incident to occur involving a Viking Cruise vessel within a week. The Viking Sky suffered engine failure off the coast of Norway, reported here on 25 March.