Hurtigruten Ship Runs Aground in Norway; Passengers and Crew Safe

January 6, 2009

Hurtigruten's 11,205-ton, 691-passenger expedition ship Richard With ran aground this morning while docking in Trondheim, Norway. No passengers or crewmembers were injured, according to a company statement, and all 153 passengers onboard were taken ashore safely.

The ship was attempting to dock when a strong gust of wind drove it aground at 7:57 a.m., local time. The accident damaged the ship's propellers, causing it to take on water through the shaft sleeve, part of the vessel's propeller assembly. The ship is lying on stable ground as of 9:50 a.m., local time, and divers will be sent down to assess the extent of the propeller damage.

At this point, no damage to the ship's hull has been found. However, oil booms have been placed around the ship as a precautionary measure to prevent damage from oil leaks. Because of the likelihood that the ship will have to be docked for repairs before it can re-enter service, the remainder of the current voyage and the next Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen roundtrip have been cancelled.

Passengers were taken ashore with the help of a local fire brigade at 10:20 a.m., local time. The Associated Press reports that firefighters used ladders as bridges, which passengers crawled across with the help of rescuers to reach land. At this point, we do not know what assistance is being provided to send displaced passengers on their way; a spokesperson for Hurtigruten did not have that information immediately available.

We'll keep you posted.

--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor, with reporting by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor

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