Passengers injured as cruise ship battered by extreme wind

Passengers were injured onboard Norwegian Escape during high winds. Credit: Dietmar Hasenpusch

The Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape encountered a “sudden, extreme gust of wind” that caused it to tilt port-side on 3 March, 2019 when leaving New York City for a seven-day cruise. The gust of wind, which was estimated at 100 knots (or approximately 115 miles per hour) caused people and objects to be flung about.  

The cruise line has since confirmed that several people were injured during the incident and had to be treated by medical staff. First responders were present at the ship’s arrival at its first stop in Port Canaveral and those in need of medical attention were transported to local hospitals in Florida by Tuesday, 5 March. All passengers admitted for medical care have now been released.  

Numerous passengers took to social media to discuss the event, many noting the damage to cabins and the interior of the ship as well as broken glass. Following the incident, investigations into the extreme spike in weather conditions found that the event was likely an aberration, with no warning available for the cruise line or the ship’s captainThis is significant as Norwegian Cruise Lines has previously been accused of a disregard for passenger safety for having sailed their vessel, The Breakaway, through extremely adverse weather conditions in January 2018 in order to maintain cruise schedules 

Norwegian Cruise Line has since confirmed that there is no damage to the Norwegian Escape and that it remains fully operational and that neither the current itinerary nor any future sailing will be affectedThe vessel, which was built in 2015, can carry can carry almost 6,000 people onboard and weighs 164,600 tons.