Norwegian Dawn Gets "All Clear" from Rogue Wave Investigation

December 27, 2005

Remember the bizarre "rogue wave" that slammed Norwegian Dawn last April, resulting in fairly major damage to some forward cabins, not to mention whirlpools, bars and buffets (see our original coverage here)? The investigation by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is at least complete and reports that the captain and his officers acted appropriately to safeguard passengers and the vessel during the storm that spurred the wave.

In the report it's noted that "rather than attempting to maintain the scheduled arrival time in New York, the master decided to lower the ship's speed and change is heading for the passengers' comfort."

As far as weather is concerned, the NTSB noted that the winds and seas confronting Norwegian Dawn, which was sailing north while off the coast of South Carolina, were "heavier than expected" and called the waves breaking over the bow an "unavoidable encounter".

This is the second investigation concerning Norwegian Dawn's rogue wave incident and the first conclude with similar findings. Previously, the Bahamas Maritime Authority had also looked into the matter because the line's ships are flagged in the Bahamas.

The incident, which did result in minor injuries for four passengers, was mostly a frightening one as the 70 ft. freak wave broke windows in two cabins and flooded another 60. Bars lost much of their glassware. Food displays in the lido smashed onto the floor. Two whirlpools on the crew deck were destroyed and a railing was wrenched from its mooring.

After the wave hit, the ship, which was on its way back to New York, immediately pulled into port in Charleston where it underwent temporary repairs. At that point, folks were offered an opportunity to be flown home, if they preferred, and were also all offered a 50 percent refund on this cruise -- as well as a 50 percent refund on a future voyage.

The ship returned to New York a day later than scheduled.