Cruise Ship Loses Power, Goes Adrift Near Canary Islands

Cruise Ship Loses Power, Goes Adrift Near Canary Islands

A P&O Cruises ship sailing near the Canary Islands issued a mayday Saturday after it suffered engine failure.

According to the International Business Times, the P&O Ventura had just departed from Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands as part of a 12-day voyage when the cruise ship encountered engine issues that resulted in a loss of propulsion.

The captain of the vessel issued a mayday and called for two tug boats to help the ship stop drifting toward the northeast of Tenerife island. A P&O Cruises spokesperson said the guests onboard the Ventura were never in any danger and updated throughout the ordeal.

“Condensation on electrical components of the engine”

Never heard of that one before.


Hey, at least “the ship has bow thrusters to take care of emergencies.” Otherwise they might have needed tugs…oh wait…

Chief power washed the main engine. My guess.


water in the distributor cap? lol

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Condensation inside of equipment causing mechanical & electrical failures is a real thing. I worked on a vessel that showed water contamination in the grease sample of a drive end bearing on a high voltage generator. The grease gun used was designated solely for those bearings & that grease. We thought it was a sampling or lab error because all the other bearings were okay. We re-sampled & it showed the same water content. The only thing that was different on that bearing & generator was the standby heating system was not working because we were waiting on parts. We had to uncouple the generator, clean the bearing & after the heater started working again the water contamination never returned. While doing inspections on vessels that work in tropical regions it is easy to find machinery & electrical equipment that needs or doesn’t have working standby heaters.

Or it could have been as Kennebec_Captain mentioned & someone was spraying water where they weren’t supposed to or a pipe or hose burst? The annual relative humidity in Santa Cruz Tenerife is only 63%.

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Condensation killing off marine engines is nothing new, but one pulling long, steady duty cycles? And in an electrical component? That’s a bit weird, as it suggests an engine electrical system open to the atmosphere, which would be highly unusual. I can still see it happening somehow, like a large potentiometer with a seal missing, but my money’s with KC on this one. It wouldn’t be the first time that “condensation” is used as an euphemism for power washing :stuck_out_tongue:

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Diesel-electric with shaft lines.

Maybe someone inadvertently set off the water mist system.

Seems to be a larger problem…
After 3 days, P&O Ventura is still in port at Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

I had this happen to me. The raw water line to the engine had a pinhole leak that would spray a very fine mist that would short out or corrode various stuff. I found it by turning off all the lights and shining a flashlight around.

Thread drift alert.
I have extremely good experience, intentionally setting of Hi Fog system. Without Hi Fog, it would have been a major engine room fire.
Hi Fire from a high pressure oil mist in purifier room out in seconds.
CE slightly damp hair. Back underway in 5 minutes.

Routinely used in drills. Without negative effects. I would find it hard to believe HI Fog or water mist would disable a vessel.


8 months before I retired, on my reliefs watch, he had R/W line failure on the A/C condenser. This was on the mezzanine over the P/ME C280 Cat. The engine was doused for several minutes before it shut down. They were at a lay berth for 5 days while Cat techs went through the systems. Over the next few months, I had PURE HELL with false alarms. Cat has 2 independent systems. The ECM and MMS. The MMS is accessible with a code. The ECM is accessible only with a Cat Laptop. Luckily, we were issued laptops. The S/W found it’s way into wireways and boxes. Corroded DIN rail connections, mag pickups and sensors sure put me to the test…retirement is not over-rated!


When it comes to water intrusion, corrosion or multiple intermittent breaks in Caterpillar C Series engines wiring I found it better to change the whole harness if the company will pay for it. I bet your old relief is still fighting that problem if they haven’t. When you have that problem with a Cat you can sneeze next to the engine & it will shut down.

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No news about the loss of propulsion.

Technicians were flown in to the ship’s help.
This night, Ventura left the port for five hours; two tugs followed her on standby.

If the nightly test was successful, the program is:
Non-stop to Southampton, to begin a scheduled cruise on next Tuesday.
The passengers are still on board, a 4-day extension of the cruise and a 50% refund.
A 4-day cruise after the planned arrival on next Friday is canceled.

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A P&O Cruises spokesperson said the guests onboard the Ventura were never in any danger and updated throughout the ordeal.

This contradicts the essence of a Mayday call that is only to be used in the case of “grave and imminent danger to a vessel or persons, such as fire, sinking, man overboard etc.” It means that in contradiction to this statement the passengers were in immediate danger or is this a matter of downplaying the incident. Cruising is all about marketing…

The OP posted link to an article, which quoted another source,both of which is not maritime minded.

The refr. to Mayday MAY just be because that is a “common term” for all emergency calls at sea, seen from their standpoint?

Do we have any reliable source saying that Mayday was called, or did the Master just call for tug assistance?


I was wondering about that.

Does been powerless between two islands, at >20 knots of wind, not respond to this criteriae?

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I would agree.
The article quoted 3000 plus passengers, Crew I wouldn’t know,1 or 2 thousand.
The ship disabled, drifting, island to leeward. Make a call early before it becomes a near disaster. Mayday or not it all worked out well in the end.
Good call f the marketing dept.

Reported a blackout to VTS, back underway in 10 minutes. Never said any of the magic words, just reported a blackout.
Both US and CDN CG had tasked units to respond, stood down again pretty quick.
Over reaction? I thoughts so, on the other hand. Nice to know, if there had been a problem they were on it. They certainly weren’t waiting for us to make up our mind to upgrade.