Emergency evacuation from cruise ship

A cruise ship has sent a Mayday signal to Norwegian coastal services after engine failure in rough seas off the west coast of Norway.

Norway’s sea rescue agency reported that the ship sent out a distress signal and had begun listing and drifting in strong winds and high waves.

The ship is stranded in an area known as one of the most dangerous stretches of Norway’s coast.

The cruise ship Viking Sky as it drifts after sending a Mayday signal because of engine failure in windy conditions near Hustadvika. Picture: Odd Roar Lange/NTB scanpix via APSource:AP

Emergency services said on Saturday they were airlifting 1300 passengers off cruise ship The Viking Sky, which sent an SOS message due to “engine problems in bad weather”, southern Norway’s rescue agency said on Twitter.

The cruise ship Viking Sky after it sent out a Mayday signal because of engine failure in windy conditions off the west coast of Norway. Picture: Odd Roar Lange/NTB scanpix/APSource:AP

According to the rescue centre, which is reporting on the evacuation via Twitter, five helicopters and a number of smaller ships have been dispatched to evacuate the stranded passengers on-board the cruise ship in a race against time before the ship runs aground on the rocky shore.

Rescue services are working to get the ship’s engine running. The ship is thought to have suffered engine failure in rough conditions at sea.

Helicopters are shuttling in a relay effort to transport around 10 passengers to shore per trip as rescuers battle waves as high as 25 feet.

Norwegian newspaper VG said the Viking Sky cruise ship ran into propulsion problems as strong winds and heavy seas hit Norway’s coastal regions Saturday.

Police told the newspaper that winds were blowing at 38 knots, which could further push the ship off its mooring and onto the shore which is located only 4.6km from the shore.

The cruise ship Viking Sky after it sent out a Mayday signal. 1300 passengers need to be airlifted before the ship runs aground. Picture: Rune Stoltz Bertinussen/NTB scanpix via APSource:AP

Police said on Saturday the ship had managed to moor in Hustadsvika Bay, between the western Norwegian cities of Alesund and Trondheim.

The rescue effort with helicopters and boats is expected to take several hours.

The Viking Sky was delivered in 2017 to operator Viking Ocean Cruises and had its maiden voyage in the same year.

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