Caribbean Princess Set Adrift after Engine Problems

  • The Caribbean Princess lost power yesterday, and was set adrift.
  • The Holyhead Coast Guard was dispatched to the ship’s aid.
  • All passengers and crew are reportedly safe.

In recent weeks we have written several blog pieces about cruise ships which have suffered engine and propulsion issues, sometimes causing the vessels to become stranded at sea. In the most recent such event a major cruise ship was set adrift off the coast of Ireland when it suffered engine problems.

On Thursday the 4,500 passenger cruise ship Caribbean Princess was set adrift in the Irish Sea when the ship lost power due to engine failure. The Holyhead Cost Guard was dispatched to the ship’s aid, and met the vessel with a tug boat and a helicopter. The 950-foot ship eventually regained power and sailed to Belfast port where it berthed.

According to a company statement the 3,306 passengers and 1,158 crew members aboard the ship were all safe and unharmed after the incident. Importantly, the ship did not lose all power during the ordeal. The ventilation, air conditioning, and plumbing systems reportedly continued to function. This is in contrast to situation in which the Carnival Triumph lost power in the Gulf of Mexico in 2013. In that situation the ship lost power after an engine fire, which knocked out virtually all power on the ship. Passengers were forced to relieve themselves in bags due to the ship’s lack of powered plumbing, earning the voyage the moniker the “poop cruise”.

Though the Princess escaped damage, this may have been more due to luck than anything. Experts say that if the wind had been blowing in another direction the ship may have been forced aground off the Irish coast. The last time a major cruise ship went aground during a cruise was in 2012 when the Costa Concordia struck rocks off the Italian coast and capsized. 32 people were killed in that tragedy.

The parent company of the Caribbean Princess cruise ship says that the loss of power was due to an electrical system glitch.