Viking Sky
© Odd Roar Lange/NTB scanpix via AP
The cruise ship Viking Sky as it drifts after sending a Mayday signal because of engine failure in windy conditions near Hustadvika, off the west coast of Norway, on March 23, 2019.
Police say a cruise ship with engine problems has sent a mayday call off Norway's western coast and is making plans to evacuate its 1,300 passengers and crew.

Norwegian newspaper VG said the Viking Sky cruise ship ran into propulsion problems as strong winds and heavy seas hit Norway's coastal regions on Saturday, March 23.

Police in the western county of Moere og Romsdal said Saturday the ship has managed to moor in Hustadsvika Bay, between the western Norwegian cities of Alesund and Trondheim.

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats have been sent to help and evacuate the vessel, a process expected to take several hours.

Viking Sky
© (Michal Stewart via AP)
This photo provided by Michal Stewart shows passengers on board the Viking Sky, waiting to be evacuated, off the coast of Norway on Saturday, March 23, 2019. Rescue workers off Norway's western coast rushed to evacuate 1,300 passengers and crew from the disabled cruise ship by helicopter on Saturday, winching them one-by-one to safety as heaving waves tossed the ship from side to side and high winds battered the operation.
Authorities kicked off the evacuation on Saturday afternoon.

The evacuation process expected to take several hours.

Norwegian officials said that rescue workers have managed to evacuate about 100 people so far from the cruise ship.

Five people have reportedly been taken to the hospital, but no one was seriously injured, TMZ reported.

The Viking Sky was delivered in 2017 to operator Viking Ocean Cruises.


Comment: Further reporting from AP:
The Viking Sky issued a mayday call as bad weather hit and engine problems caused it to start drifting toward the rocky shore, the Norwegian newspaper VG reported. Police in the western county of Moere og Romsdal said the crew, fearing the ship would run aground, managed to anchor in Hustadvika Bay, between the Norwegian cities of Alesund and Trondheim, so the evacuations could take place.

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances, including gusts up to 38 knots (43 mph) and waves over 8 meters (26 feet). The area is known for its rough, frigid waters.

Authorities told NRK that a strong storm with high waves was preventing rescue workers from using life boats or tug boats to take passengers ashore.

The Viking Sky was on a 12-day trip that began March 14 in the western Norwegian city of Bergen, according to the cruisemapper.com website.

The ship was visiting the Norwegian towns and cities of Narvik, Alta, Tromso, Bodo and Stavanger before its scheduled arrival Tuesday in the British port of Tilbury on the River Thames.



viking sky
© (CHC helicopters via AP)
In this image taken from video made available by CHC helicopters, helicopters fly over 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, on March 23, 2019.