163 Filipino crew of stricken cruise ship in Norway 'all safe'
MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – There were 163 Filipino crew members aboard a cruise ship that got stranded off Norway, according to the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
In a statement on Sunday, March 24, the DFA said the Filipino crew members are "all safe" and helped evacuate passengers on the Viking Sky, which lost power and started drifting on Saturday, March 23.
There were no Filipino passengers aboard the ship, according to the DFA. Norwegian police said 17 people were brought to the hospital, reported Agence France-Presse.
The Philippine embassy in Oslo is already "in touch with" with ship owner Viking Cruises and the Norwegian Rescue Center.
"Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Mariel Algabre said she was told by Viking Cruises director of operations Steward Coote that passengers have praised the efficiency and helpfulness of the ship's Filipino crew in the evacuation," the DFA said.
Dramatic footage of the passengers' ordeal showed furniture and plants sliding round the lurching vessel as parts of the ceiling came down.
The Viking Sky had a total of 1,373 passengers and crew. Some 460 people had already been airlifted off the ship before the helicopter operation was halted so towing could begin.
Tug boats then began towing the Viking Sky to shore. The ship was eventually able to sail to the port of Molde on its own after 3 of its 4 engines were restarted. It reached the port at around 11:15 pm on Sunday, Manila time.
The area where the ship got into problems, known as Hustadvika, is notoriously difficult to navigate. – with a report from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com