Cruise ship passengers stuck at sea for several hours have vented their frustration after power was cut to their luxury liner as it approached Adelaide’s Outer Harbor.
- The Vasco da Gama had 1,400 people on board when power was shut down
- The CMV Australia-operated vessel was about two nautical miles offshore
- Passengers reported the ship was starting to lean to one side, but CMV said it was unaware of any “listing”
The Nassau-based Vasco da Gama was carrying 828 passengers and about 600 crew on its voyage from Sydney to Adelaide when an alarm was triggered in the engine control room about 5:30am.
The captain then made the decision to switch off power to the entire ship about two nautical miles from port, prompting concerns the vessel had started to lean, or list in nautical parlance.
“There were no lights in the rooms and we knew there was no power, the ship was just sitting there,” one passenger said.
“The cabins were completely blacked out, there was no emergency lighting, the toilets didn’t work, there was no water available,” another passenger, John, said.
“The ship was on a list of about 15 degrees. There was no communication from the captain until about 7:10am at which time he said everything was under control.
“My wife was due for an appointment in town about 11:00am and has had to cancel the specialist appointment.
“There were a number of people who’ve missed flights and are quite disappointed.”
He joked the vessel was already being dubbed by some passengers as the “Fiasco da Gama”.
Passenger ‘grateful’ vessel was not sinking
Passengers had already endured onboard dramas when the Tasmanian leg of the voyage was cancelled because of rough weather.
One said she wondered what was happening when the lights and water cut out while her husband was in the shower.
“We weren’t sinking, so we were grateful for that,” she said.
The vessel — named after a famed 15th-century Portuguese explorer — is operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) Australia.
Managing director Dean Brazier said the situation was triggered by an alarm in the engine control room, and defended the way the crew responded.
“They checked out what was going wrong, they found the incident, and there was no ongoing effect, so they then restarted the engines,” he said.
“Everything’s been fine, the ambience on board has been fantastic amongst all of the guests, they’ve had breakfast as usual, checkout has been operated as usual, but only with the couple of hours’ delay.”
Mr Brazier said he was unaware of any listing.