Cruise ship lurches to a halt in storm injures 100

Thursday, November 9, 2023


A dream trip turned into a nightmare for the 1,000 passengers on board a cruise ship.

The ship lurched into a halt in a storm injuring 100.

Saga Cruises’ Spirit of Discovery ship was on its final leg of a 14-day European trip.

The ship was under bad weather on Saturday in the Bay of Biscay. It is a part of the Atlantic Ocean.

The accident happened off the west coast of France and north coast of Spain.

The “Canary Island Quintet” cruise had promised guests “winter sun” on the “sun-kissed archipelago” of the Canary Islands.

It was departing from Portsmouth in the UK on October 24.

The ship was due to stop over on the island of Madeira, before heading to the Canary islands of La Palma, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria.

After two days at sea it would then dock at La Coruña in Spain, before arriving back in Portsmouth after another sea day.

Everything went to plan until day 10 – November 2 – when the ship was en route to Gran Canaria, as storms approached.

Officers decided to cancel the stop and head straight for La Coruña, in an attempt to get ahead of the weather.

But the port closed as the ship was en route, and a decision was made to press on to Portsmouth – a distance of over 600 nautical miles and at least two days’ travel hoping to stay ahead of the storm.

Saga Cruises did not respond to a question on why the ship didn’t attempt to dock anywhere else, or turn back, instead of attempting the journey.

On the itinerary, there were two “at sea” days between Gran Canaria and La Coruña, and a third from Spain to the UK.

The fallout

Catching the brunt of the storm in the Bay of Biscay, the ship’s propulsion safety system was activated.

That was causing the ship to lurch to the left, bringing it to an abrupt halt, and injuring around 10% of the passengers onboard.

Five are understood to have been seriously injured.

The ship’s crew then decided to stay in position, rather than attempt to continue the journey to the UK.

The Bay of Biscay is notorious for its treacherous weather and high waves.

Passengers reported their dire conditions on social media, with some saying they thought they would die.

One person on social media claimed the “horrendous” experience included “getting flung to the floor in the dining room with tables and crockery falling on them.”

They also shared a screenshot of the ship’s location on Saturday night, noting that it was the only passenger vessel in the Bay of Biscay at the time of the storm.

One passenger shared footage with a news media of the waves hitting the ship. A crew member reported a “code alpha”, the code for an onboard medical emergency in the dining room.

Another told of how the captain warned passengers over the intercom to sit or lie down, and said they were “holding on for dear life.”

All passengers have now disembarked.

The ship has now turned around and is back on the water for its next cruise.

Onlookers last tracked off the coast of southern England, after its departure from Portsmouth for Lisbon, according to a tracking website.

The route will take the ship through the Bay of Biscay again – hopefully with a smoother crossing this time.

Share On:

« Back to Page

Related Posts



Subscribe to our Newsletters

I want to receive travel news and trade event update from Travel And Tour World. I have read Travel And Tour World'sPrivacy Notice.

Nov 28
November 28 - November 30
Dec 05
December 5 - December 8
Jan 05
January 5, 2024 - January 7, 2024
Jan 18
January 18, 2024 - January 21, 2024