Hitchin couple's praise for crew after cruise ship's Norway engine failure

PUBLISHED: 07:03 11 April 2019

Viking Sky moored in the harbour of Sete in Herault, France, in December 2018.  Last month she suffered engine failure off the coast of Norway, with Hitchin couple Robert and Barbara Slater on board. Picture: Christian Ferrer

Viking Sky moored in the harbour of Sete in Herault, France, in December 2018. Last month she suffered engine failure off the coast of Norway, with Hitchin couple Robert and Barbara Slater on board. Picture: Christian Ferrer

Christian Ferrer / CC BY 4.0

A Hitchin couple who were on board the stranded Viking Sky cruise ship off the coast of Norway last month have spoken about the episode.

Crowds welcome the Viking Sky cruise ship into port at Molde, Norway. Picture: Robert SlaterCrowds welcome the Viking Sky cruise ship into port at Molde, Norway. Picture: Robert Slater

Robert and Barbara Slater were among 200 Britons on the ship, which experienced engine trouble in stormy waters of the west coast of the country.

“We had booked to see the Northern Lights,” explained Robert.

“We did indeed see them, on two consecutive evenings on the way travelling north.

“Prior to the cruise we flew to Oslo and took the train journey to Bergen.

Viking Sky moored in the harbour of Sete in Herault, France, in December 2018.  Last month she suffered engine failure off the coast of Norway, with Hitchin couple Robert and Barbara Slater on board. Picture: Christian FerrerViking Sky moored in the harbour of Sete in Herault, France, in December 2018. Last month she suffered engine failure off the coast of Norway, with Hitchin couple Robert and Barbara Slater on board. Picture: Christian Ferrer

“The incident happened on the second Saturday of the trip, on the way back down the coast.

“We heard the alarm signal for the crew, soon followed by the general emergency signal at about 2pm. The ship was rolling a lot at this point.

“We were in our bedroom at the time, so we simply grabbed a coat each and went to our muster station, a theatre in the bow of the ship. We stayed there until early afternoon on the Sunday.”

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The couple stayed on the ship, which limped into the Norwegian port of Molde, with the country’s maritime agency since confirming that low oil levels caused the engines to shut down.

Robert was keen to praise the Viking Sky’s captain and crew, saying: “Everyone on board the ship will have been scared at some point, but we have nothing but praise for the captain and crew of the ship and the emergency services in Norway.

“The crew were remarkable, calm, professional, and well drilled.

“A special mention to the catering staff who kept us fed and watered throughout, despite what were exceptionally difficult conditions.

“We do not blame the company or captain.

“The ship was capable of coping with the weather, and had been doing so until the oil issue, which I am sure will be corrected on all ships in the future.

“The support and aftercare we have received from Viking Cruises has been faultless.”

Robert also joked about the present he and his wife were given when they got back on dry land.

“The reception in Molde was wonderful,” he said.

“A neighbour with a sense of humour gave us a small present on our return, a ‘welcome aboard’ sign to hang on a door.”

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