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Friday, December 22, 2023

Hurtigruten's MS Maud Faces Turbulence: Rogue Wave Incident on Northern Lights Expedition

In a heart-stopping incident on Thursday, December 21, 2023, the Hurtigruten expedition ship MS Maud encountered a rogue wave while navigating the treacherous waters of the North Sea between Norway, Denmark, and the UK. The ship, which had just completed a 14-night "Northern Lights" expedition cruise roundtrip from Tilbury, UK, found itself in the grip of a powerful wave that shattered windows on the ship's bridge, leading to a temporary loss of power and navigational abilities.

The Rogue Wave Incident

The rogue wave struck MS Maud at approximately 4 p.m., causing a harrowing situation for the 266 passengers and 131 crew members on board. Video footage shared by passengers revealed the ship's extreme rocking motion, emphasizing the severity of the encounter. Fortunately, no serious injuries have been reported, and the vessel is currently stable, albeit unable to navigate independently.

A Harrowing Reminder: The Viking Polaris Incident in November 2022

This incident brings back memories of a similar rogue wave accident involving the Viking Polaris in November 2022. While sailing the treacherous Drake Passage, the Viking Polaris faced a rogue wave that resulted in one fatality and several injuries. The maritime community was reminded of the unpredictable nature of the seas, and cruise lines enhanced safety measures to prevent and mitigate such incidents. See the results of the subsequent investigation here on our YouTube channel:

Swift Response and Ongoing Assessments

The crew swiftly implemented rigorous safety checks and technical assessments, adhering to the cruise line's operational protocols. Authorities were alerted promptly, with multiple vessels and rescue personnel responding to the emergency. At present, the ship is being manually steered from the engine room as tow assistance is arranged.

Satellite tracking data indicates that MS Maud, with a gross tonnage of 16,151, is moving at a slow pace of 2-3 knots, owing to the adverse weather conditions with wind speeds of approximately 35 knots. Passengers have been instructed to remain in their staterooms for safety reasons, as the ship continues to navigate the challenging conditions.

Impact on the Next Cruise

With the vessel unable to sail independently, Hurtigruten has made the decision to cancel MS Maud's next cruise—a 13-night Christmas Expedition to various ports in Norway. The cancellation aims to allow for a thorough assessment of the damage and subsequent repairs.

Originally scheduled to depart from Tilbury on Saturday, December 23, the ship's docking location remains uncertain. Depending on the severity of the damage, MS Maud may be directed to a shipyard in Denmark or Germany for immediate repairs. Efforts will be made to arrange timely flights for guests once the ship is safely docked, although severe weather conditions may impact the return timeline.

Future Sailings and Passenger Communication

Until the damage is assessed, the status of future sailings remains uncertain. Passengers booked on upcoming MS Maud cruises are advised to stay in close contact with the cruise line or their travel agents for the latest updates on potential changes or cancellations.


As MS Maud faces this unexpected challenge, our thoughts are with all passengers and crew on board for a safe and smooth resolution to this tense situation. Emergency personnel responding to the incident are also in our thoughts as they work diligently to ensure the safety of everyone involved.


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