Stricken Norwegian Star Returns to Sea

By ,   February 14, 2017 ,   Accidents

A cruise ship stranded off the Australian coast after a mechanical failure returns to sea today bound for New Zealand.

Norwegian Star, which departed Sydney on February 6 carrying over 2000 passengers, lost engine power and became stranded about 30 kilometres off Victoria's east coast on Friday.

The problem lay with the ship's azipod propulsion system, which ground to a halt, although the vessel did not lose power completely.

The ship was towed back to Melbourne's Station Pier just before midnight on Saturday, with passengers told they could be forced to wait up to five days before the vessel could continue on.

On Monday, however, a spokeswoman said the Norwegian Star was expected to depart Melbourne on Tuesday afternoon and arrive in Auckland on February 18, as scheduled.

Yet the ship could miss more scheduled stops, including Milford Sound, due to the delays.

Norwegian Star

"Norwegian Star is currently undergoing repairs to the ship's azipod propulsion system while docked at the Port of Melbourne," the spokeswoman said.

"All guests are comfortable and enjoying the ship's amenities or time ashore in Melbourne.

"A small number of guests have chosen to disembark and transportation to the airport is being provided for those guests."

About 200 passengers decided to abandon the cruise.

US couple Trevor and Ashley Wagner were among those who chose to cut their losses. They booked a flight back home on Sunday morning.

"It wasn't as desperate as some people were saying but it was very disappointing," Wagner said.

"We figured we would save the vacation time and take the trip again another time."

Wagner said the Norwegian Star operator's offer of flights to New Zealand was not the dream trip they had planned.

They will rebook the trip another time, he said.

"We were two days at sea and were supposed to see New Zealand," Wagner said. "We are cutting and running."

All passengers have been offered a full refund, plus 50 per cent off their next Norwegian Cruise Line trip, regardless of whether they stay aboard or leave.

Passengers who leave the cruise will also receive AU$350 (NZD$375) per person for flights to New Zealand and AU$300 (NZD$319) per ticket to compensate for flight rescheduling penalties.

The Norwegian Star encountered mechanical issues long before it departed Sydney.

The ship, which departed Hong Kong on January 16, had problems in another part of the engine about nine days into the voyage.

The spokeswoman said attempts were made to repair the fault, but the cruise liner could not travel at speed and skipped up to five ports in order to reach Sydney on time.

She said the vessel was seaworthy despite the two system failures.

"There is no safety issue in relation to this ship; the issue is speed," she said. 

For reports on other Norwegian Star ship accidents see at