Cruise Ship Loses Power, Goes Adrift Near Canary Islands

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.

That is what I meant to say, under these conditions the passengers were in danger but the company stated that they were never in any danger.

The PR departments are not responsible of driving the ships, but to remove negative impressions from potential clients.
The coming investigation by the Spanish or British authorities will certainly not ask the PR folks.

The still functioning bow thrusters were probably declared as “to take care of emergencies” by PR too.

The reason for the loss of propulsion will hopefully be known with the investigation report…

It is probably possible to change the direction the ship is drifting to some degree by changing the ship’s heading. Changing the wind from the beam to the quarter might alter the resultant motion vector from the beam to slightly forward of the beam.

That’s my observation from drifting when the swell changes the relative wind direction from abeam.

Yes, I thought about that too, these cruise ships having a huge ‘sail area’.

However, I could not imagine how realistic this would be in 20 knots of wind and a weight of 60000+ tons.

Big boat, possibly, bow and stern thrusters?
If so at least it could go sideways?

Thrusters are not usually on emergency power.
Diesel Electric with shafts, at least some of the main power supply was still operating.

So no power to the electric motors.
If it was a motor issue, surprising to affect both.
Power supply is very high voltage, could condensation affect this?. Would there be a common supply?

There’s got to be some pretty sckookum breakers? Possible a single tie breaker for both main shafts?
I bet they don’t have those on the shelf down at Home Depot.

20 knot winds, no idea what the operating parameters are, Ports here tend to use 25 knots. Varies with the power.

Well yes. My actual high tension experience is nil, but I’d expect one of those systems to be set up so that the merest idea of a ground leak makes it go dark. If we’re talking about an electrical component not on the engine, this makes a lot more sense.

The speed of drifting depends upon the ratio between the cross-section area below the waterline and the sail area above. A loaded tanker will be less effected by the wind than one in ballast. A car ship or cruise ships more so than a tanker.

For every ten knots of wind a car ship will drift at about 1 kt.

15 posts were split to a new topic: MAYDAY vs PAN-PAN

Diesel engines use to be highly reliable because they did not have any electronics.

Now Diesel engines are becoming highly unreliable because they are too dependent on sensitive electronics.


In my limited experience of high current and high voltage installations the buses separated in an emergency with a small explosive device. I think you would likely enjoy a long conversation with law enforcement authorities if you enquired for them at Home Depot.