Want to take a closer look at Hurtigruten's ships?

While we're waiting for Hurtigruten to bring the MS Nordlys back into schedule, it's possible to take a closer look at her interior here. You can check out the cabins, restaurants, panorama lounges, bars etc.

Follow this link and you can get aboard the MS Finnmarken (for the time being in Australia), MS Kong Harald, MS Midnatsol, the older MS Lofoten and MS Nordstjernen, and the rest of the Hurtigruten fleet. I would specially like to point out Hurtigruten's special expedition ship, the MS Fram. What a magnificent ship!

(Picture borrowed from Hurtigruten.)


The Nordlys accident - updates

As previously posted, Hurtigruten's ship MS Nordlys had an accident on september 15th 2011. The ship has now been towed to Fiskerstrand shipyard for initial repairs. NRK reports that the damage to the MS Nordlys is less than feared. The fire was confined to the engine room, and there is no talk about the ship being a write off.

Although an unfortunate accident, luck would have it that MS Nordlys was supposed to be out of Hurtigruten's schedule from October to the end of December, in compliance with the company's agreement with the Norwegian state. This will help to minimize problems for Hurtigruten, when it comes to meeting the set schedule. Since the damage is relatively limited, Hurtigruten sees the possibility that MS Nordlys could be back at the beginning of 2012.

Should the repairs of MS Nordlys take longer than is now foreseen, the company will look into the possibility of hiring a ship as a replacement. Either way, let's hope that the beautiful MS Nordlys soon will be back, crusing up and down the Norwegian coast.

2011/14/10: Some good news; according to Sunnmørsposten the hull is now watertight and MS Nordlys has been taken out of dry dock. It has not been decided yet which shipyard that shall repair the rest of the ship.

2011/10/19: Hurtigruten reports that MS Nordlys will be back in traffic on the 20th of March 2012.

2011/10/20: The Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN) has issued a preliminary report about the accident (in norwegian only).

2011/11/15: Teknisk Ukeblad is reporting that seven shipyards are competing for the repairs on MS Nordlys. Three Norwegian: Fiskerstrand Verft, Bergen Group and Kleven Maritime lag, three german: Blohm+Voss, Lloyd Werft and Bredo, and one polish: Remontowa. Hurtigruten will decide by the 17th of November.

The hull is now fully repaired, and some of the smoke damaged areas has been washed down and soot has been removed. It seems that only the engine block of the starboard engine can be reused. The port engine was not damaged.

Several storage areas (some refrigerated) and crew cabins were under water while the ship was listing in Ålesund. This has to be torn out and rebuilt.

2011/11/21: Hurtigruten has decided on Fiskerstrand ship yard for the MS Nordlys repairs (Norwegian press statement).

2012/01/23: (From Itromso.no in Norwegian.) There has been som controversy between Hurtigruten and The Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN), concerning a fuel pump which had loose bolts. The AIBN has seen this as a possible cause of the fire, while Hurtigruten and its chief engineers has viewed it as a result of the fire. Det Norske Veritas (DNV, a Norwegian independent risk management organization) has looked into this, and in a report the DNV has concluded that Hurtigruten could be right about this. The AIBN is willing to evaluate the DNV's conclusion. 

2012/02/04: Maritime Polarwood are finishing repairs on the wooden floors that was damaged in the accident.

2012/03/19: The Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB) has released a report (in Norwegian) about the handling of the fire aboard the MS Nordlys. The conclusion is that Ålesund Fire Department and others involved handled the accident well. This also includes the MS Nordlys' crew, who contributed to keeping the consequences of the fire from being even worse.

2012/03/20: Hurtigruten is reporting that the return of MS Nordlys will be delayed by 8 days. Some testing remains before the ship is seaworthy. The ship will be back in schedule from March 28th, leaving southbound from Tromsø. MS Nordlys was originally meant to leave Bergen on the 20th of March. All passengers will be contacted about rebooking.

2012/09/17: According to the Norwegian Broadcasting Coperation (NRK) the AIBN has issued an update to the preliminary report, stating that fatique cracks in diesel pipes most likely was the reason for the fire. The cracks led to diesel being ignited on a nearby hot surface. Whether the hot surface should have been covered, is disputed says Hurtigruten's Communication Manager Ragnar Norum: "Sometimes the insulation itself can be a fire hazard". The AIBN has earlier suspected a loose fuel pump to be the reason behind the accident (this was challenged by Hurtigruten and its chief engineers). The final report is due in spring 2013. 

After the accident Hurtigruten has decided to change the fire suppression systems in the engine rooms. The existing CO2 systems is being replaced by a water fog systems, which can be used even if people are close to the fire. Hurtigruten continues to work close with the AIBN, assuring the safety of Hurtigruten passengers.


The MS Nordlys accident

On september 15th 2011 Hurtigruten's ship MS Nordlys had an accident. Close to port at Ålesund in western Norway, a fire broke out in the engine room. Black smoke could be observed billowing out of the ship, and the passengers was gathered on the fifth deck ready for an evacuation. The fire knocked out the ship's engines, and it was left to drift. 

Fortunately, the ship was just half a mile from the port of Ålesund and the weather was calm. Tug boats came to the rescue and MS Nordlys was towed into Ålesund, where fire fighters stood ready to get aboard. Meanwhile the ship's crew evacuated the passengers into the life boats, and got them all safely to land. Reports has it that the evacuation was carried out in a calm manner, considering the graveness of the situation. No passengers were hurt, but tragically two crew members in the engine room were killed, and another two were injured.

As the ship was towed into the port and secured, another problem arose. Along with the water from the fire fighting, the ship started taking in seawater (this was later discovered to be damage made to the ships hull, as it was placed at the quay). This eventually led to the ship listing dangerously. Pumps was placed aboard, but they couldn't get the water out fast enough. Adding to the situation, there was problems finding the damages in the ships hull. For a while all crew working to rescue the ship was evacuated, because it was expected that the ship would tip over and sink.

A final effort to rescue the ship was initiated, and the Dutch rescue company SMIT Salvage was able to place enough pumps into the ship. The damages to the ships hull was also successfully plugged. A couple of days after the accident the ships was upright again, and the situation was under control. The ship is now towed to a ship yard for repair. At the Norwegian newspaper Romsdal budstikke's website, you can see pictures from the rescue operation.

(Picture borrowed from Wikipedia.)

Hurtigruten, a national icon (and specially after this summers five days live broadcast), has a special place in many Norwegian's hearts. Hours of live television was broadcasted, from the accident was reported to the ship was upright and secured. The reason for the engine fire is under investigation by the Accident Investigation Board Norway.

27.09.11: See also The MS Nordlys accident - an update.

The Hurtigruten fleet - ships names explained

(Photo borrowed from Hurtigruten.)

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