Cruise ships are supposed to provide a safe and fun vacation for paying customers, but as with any kind of maritime industry, an accident can happen any time. A river cruise ship from Viking River Cruises recently collided with a bridge causing damage and the deaths of two members of the crew. No other crew members or passengers were injured in the accident.
Crash Caused Deaths of Two Workers
The crash of the Viking Freya occurred overnight between Sunday, September 11 and Monday, September 12. The cruise ship, which was carrying 181 passengers and 49 crew members, was traveling along the Main-Danube Canal in southern Germany on its way into the Danube River and on to Budapest. It struck a railway bridge near the town of Erlangen while still on the canal.
The railway bridge suffered only mild damage, but the wheelhouse of the cruise ship was completely crushed in the collision and sheared off from the top of the ship. Two members of the crew were in the wheelhouse at the time of the crash. The two Eastern European workers were aged 33 and 49, and they lost their lives in the accident.
Cause of Accident Uncertain
Exactly what caused the accident was not immediately clear. Investigations will have to be made to determine what the cause was and who was at fault, if anyone. Rescue workers and police who arrived early on the scene of the accident reported that it seemed as if the wheelhouse had not been lowered enough to clear the railway bridge and that this may have been the cause of the accident. The wheelhouse on this ship was designed to be retractable so that it could fit under certain bridges.
The surviving crew and passengers were not injured, but they were stranded on the cruise ship for several hours. It wasn’t until 6:00 on Monday morning that rescue workers were able to evacuate the ship completely. The passengers were sent to local hotels and were given the option to return home or continue the cruise on a different ship, the Viking Bestla. Following the accident, shipping and other traffic on the canal was halted indefinitely for the investigation and so that the Viking Freya could be removed for repairs.
The Risks of Cruise Ship Work
All maritime jobs come with risks. In fact, the maritime industry is among the most dangerous in the world. Cruise ship jobs are not always considered to be dangerous, but anyone who spends time on a vessel at sea or even on rivers, takes serious risks every day on the job. Collisions, like the one that occurred recently in Germany, are not uncommon. These are the sources of a lot of injuries and fatalities in the maritime industry.
Other risks that cruise ship crew members face on the job include fires, sinking, running aground, capsizing, falls overboard, on board contagious illnesses, loss of power on the ship, and even piracy, depending on the location of the cruise. Cruise ship staff also faces the risks associated with passengers. Assault is not as uncommon on cruises as some may realize.
If you work on a cruise ship, you should know that you have rights to protect you in the event you are injured on the job. There are maritime laws designed to allow you to seek compensation if you are hurt and have medical bills or cannot work for a period of time. The laws also provide for fatalities. If you die in a terrible accident on the job, like this one, your loved ones have a right to seek compensation.