One of the Hurtigruten ships that sails along Norway’s coast grounded outside the Sognefjord this week, just after leaving a nearby shipyard where it had been in for maintenance and conversion to hybrid operations. It’s now undergoing new inspections after damage to its bow and a ballast tank.
There were no passengers on board the MS Richard With when the grounding occurred Friday morning at Solund in the Outer Steinsund. The vessel had been taken out of ordinary traffic for maintenance and upgrading, with state broadcaster NRK reporting it only had a crew of 53 on board plus 14 service personnel from the shipyard.
Hurtigruten reported that a technical systems error led to a temporary loss of steering, and in turn the grounding. Hurtigruten officials declined to answer questions, opting instead for press releases in which they tried to put a positive spin on the grounding.
Anja Bakken of the Norwegian search and rescue service HRS told state broadcaster NRK, however, that the ship was losing water and had a hole in a ballast tank that helps stabilize the vessel. There were no injuries, but Bakken said it was “serious” when such a large ship grounds.
The vessel, built in 1993, was supposed to be back in normal operation from August 9, reported Skiprevyen, but was heading back to the yard for further repairs. It had been at the Myklebust Yard in connection with conversion to hybrid operations that now may need to be re-examined.