Aurora accidents and incidents

Aurora cruise ship


Length (LOA)
270 m / 886 ft

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CruiseMapper's Aurora cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 2258-passenger vessel owned by P&O UK (P&O Cruises). Our Aurora accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • fire - 2017
  • propulsion/power loss - 2000, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013
  • deaths - overboard (2012)
  • injuries/crimes - 2010, drug busts (2012)
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 2003 (580 / 28), 2008 (7 pax with Hepatitis E), 2011 (25), 2012 (145 / 8)

20 September 2017Fire Accident

On September 20, 2017, at ~11:45 am, the ship suffered an engine room fire accident causing propulsion and power loss. The fire was extinguished at ~2:15 pm, during which time the onboard electricity was produced by the emergency diesel generators. All passenger services remained fully operational.

Via the PA system, the Captain requested all passengers to return to their cabins, and the crew gathered at the muster stations.

The accident occurred during Transatlantic crossing from Canada to the UK, while the liner was en-route to Azores Islands. The current 30-night cruise "North America and Canada" (itinerary Aug 27 - Sept 26) and the next scheduled departure from Southampton were not affected.

January 2017Coast Guard Medevacs

On January 9, 2017, an 82-year-old male passenger was medevaced from the ship, approx 600 km / 370 ml off Portugal's coast. The Portuguese Air Force dispatched a helicopter to hoist and transport the man to the hospital.

17 February 2013Propulsion / Power Loss

On February 17, 2013, the vessel developed propulsion problems (portside propeller shaft) during "P&O World Cruise 2013".  The incident resulted in reduced cruising speed and itinerary changes.

To enable the needed repairs to be made in port, the ship stayed in call port Auckland NZ overnight, leaving on Feb 18 instead of Feb 17. The extended port stays resulted in itinerary changes - call ports Napier NZ and Wellington NZ were dropped. From Auckland, the liner continued directly to Bay of Islands (full day visit on Feb  19).

28 September 2012Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On September 28, 2012, a 72-year-old female passenger fell overboard from her cabin's balcony. The elderly woman (of British origin) went overboard while the ship was en-route from Oporto Portugal to Barcelona Spain.

The woman traveled together with her daughter and reportedly committed suicide. The incident was witnessed by a passenger and the crew was alerted. The ship immediately started a search operation. The body was found and retrieved.

The liner was on 14-night Mediterranean cruise (itinerary Sept 26 - Oct 10) roundtrip from homeport Southampton UK.

17 February 2012Drug Smuggling

On February 17, 2012, a 59-year-old male passenger was arrested and charged with drug trafficking. The man (of British origin) was arrested by Customs officers when the cruise liner was docked at Overseas Terminal in Sydney NSW Australia.

The officers were using a sniffer dog and checking the disembarking passengers.  The man had several packages with a total of  30 kg of cocaine. Drugs were hidden inside a wetsuit he was wearing under his clothes.  Another 25 packages of cocaine were later found in 3 suitcases in his stateroom.

25 January 2012Drug Smuggling

On January 25, 2012, while the ship was docked at Pier 35 in call port San Francisco CA (USA), Customs and Border Protection officers arrested 3 passengers and charged them with drug trafficking. They found around 13 kg of cocaine in 2 separate staterooms. 

The 3 arrested passengers carried, respectively, Ahmed Rachid (Australian, ~7 kg), while Tony Wilkinson and Kirstie Harris (roommates, both from New Zealand) carried ~5 kg. The ship arrived in the USA from the Caribbean (call port Willemstad Curacao) via Panama Canal.

January 2012Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In January 2012, CDC reported on itinerary Jan 4 to 26, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected 145 passengers (out of 1727, or 8,4%) and 8 crew (out of 850, or 0,9%). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea) and were quarantined to their cabins.

The ship reported to CDC increased cleaning and disinfection, sent daily reports of illness cases to VSP. Embarkation on the next voyage (departure Jan 26, from San Francisco CA) was delayed due to health assessment and outbreak evaluation.

December 2011Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

On December 29, 2011, a UK news media reported around 25 passengers on the ship suffering from Norovirus symptoms (stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea). All sick were quarantined to their cabins.

The ship was on 15-day Canary Islands cruise (itinerary Dec 20 - Jan 4) roundtrip from homeport Southampton England UK.

Note: When the itinerary doesn’t include US cruise ports, the ship is not required to report to CDC, thus no official illness report would be issued.

29 September 2011Propulsion / Power Loss

On September 29, 2011, due to "electrical issues " the ship was not cleared by the Harbormaster and had to stay overnight in call port Portland England for repairs.

30 December 2010Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On December 30, 2010, while ashore, a male crew was shot during a mugging. The ship was docked in call port Philipsburg (St Maarten). The man (Gahadhar Pradhan, from India, working on the ship as a waiter) was shot in the buttocks by an armed man in an attempted robbery.

08 September 2009Propulsion / Power Loss

On September 8, 2009, upon leaving call port NYC New York, the ship suffered propulsion problem (bow thruster No 2 malfunction) resulting in power loss. The vessel required tugboat assistance for re-berth.

After the crew fixed the unit, the vessel was inspected and cleared to continue to the next call port Newport RI, when it arrived ~5 hours late. Due to high winds, the next scheduled call Port St. John's NF Canada was canceled.

The accident occurred during Transatlantic crossing roundtrip from Southampton to USA and Canada.

03 March 2009Propulsion / Power Loss

On March 3, 2009, ~4 hours after leaving call port Sydney NSW Australia, the ship suffered a propulsion system malfunction (broken portside shaft thrust bearing). The accident resulted in reduced speed (14 Kn instead of 24) and itinerary changes. The New Zealand call ports Wellington, Bay of Islands and Napier were canceled. The ship continued directly to Auckland NZ. Experts were flown to Auckland to assist the repairs.

On March 8, at ~6:30 pm, the Captain announced that while the defective unit was replaced, more detailed inspections revealed the need for further repairs.  The liner had to stay in port Auckland 4 days / 3 overnights. Additional itinerary changes were made - in French Polynesia, Moorea Island, and Tahiti were dropped. From New Zealand, the ship continued directly to Honolulu Hawaii.

On March 12, at ~5 pm, the ship left Auckland towards Honolulu, where arrived ~1 day behind schedule. In order to keep the Southampton cruise schedule, call port Funchal (Madiera Island) was also canceled. Instead, the liner stopped in Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel Island, Azores).

On March 12, while en-route from NZ to Hawaii, 600+ passengers officially protested after the ship skipped 5 call ports (3 in NZ, plus 2 Pacific Islands).

The accident occurred during the 93-day "P&O World Cruise 2009" roundtrip from Southampton UK.

07 July 2008Propulsion / Power Loss

On July 7, 2008, while en-route from Nuuk Greenland to Reykjavik Iceland, the vessel suffered propulsion problems. The incident resulted in reduced cruising speed and itinerary changes. The ship arrived ~12 hours later than scheduled in call port Reykjavik, and call port Alesund Norway was dropped.

The pod unit was inspected and fixed (on July 12) by experts flown to Iceland. As compensation, all passengers received GBP 100 pp in onboard credit.

April 2008Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

On April 20, 2008, BBC News reported 7 confirmed cases of passengers with Hepatitis E infection (virus illness). The incident occurred during the ship's World Cruise (itinerary January 7 - March 28) roundtrip from Southampton England.

Hepatitis E is liver inflammation, with symptoms fever, nausea, abdominal pains, anorexia, dark urine, and jaundice.

12 November 2007Crew / Passenger Crimes

(sexual) A 30-year-old male crew was arrested and charged with sexual assault of a minor. The man (of Indian origin) worked on the ship as a waiter. He sexually assaulted a 14-year-old female passenger during a Mediterranean cruise from Southampton UK.

The crew befriended the girl while serving her family's table in the Medina Restaurant (dining room). One evening, she was waiting for a friend outside the dining room, when the man persuaded her to follow him. He led her to a public restroom, locked the door of a toilet cubicle and raped her.

(law news) On November 12, 2007, the man was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

09 January 2005Propulsion / Power Loss

On January 9, 2005, while en-route from Southampton to Funchal (Madeira Island), the vessel experienced technical issues (propulsion motor failure) resulting in reduced cruising speed.

The accident occurred at the beginning of the 103-day "P&O World Cruise 2005". With around 1700 passengers on board, the voyage was canceled and the liner returned to Southampton to disembark all passengers. P&O UK donated all the "World Cruise" food to Southampton-based charities.

The ship entered drydock (at Meyer Werft, in Bremerhaven Germany) for repairs.

November 2003Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In October-November, during 17-day Eastern Mediterranean cruise (itinerary Oct 20 - Nov 6) roundtrip from homeport Southampton UK, the ship experienced an epidemic Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) which affected 580 passengers and 28 crew.

When the vessel docked in call port Piraeus-Athens (Greece), it was denied passenger disembarkation and was held in quarantine. It left Piraeus on Oct 31. passenger disembarkation was also denied in call ports Dubrovnik (Croatia) and in Gibraltar (UK). While the ship was berthed in Gibraltar, Spain closed its border for a few hours, which caused diplomatic tension with the UK.

Note: When the itinerary doesn’t include US cruise ports, the ship is not required to report to CDC, thus no official illness report would be issued.

11 September 2001Other Incidents

On September 11, 2001, during the New York City WTC attack, the cruise ship was approx 80 ml / 130 km south of NYC and approx 20 ml / 30 km east of Atlantic City NJ. On the ship was hosted a conference at sea. The entire ship was privately chartered for a 2-night Cruise To Nowhere from NYC (itinerary Sept 9-11) by major IT firms executives.

After the NYC attacks, USCG helicopters and marine vessels were guarding the cruise ship due to safety reasons. Instead berthing in NYC (Manhattan Pier 53 terminal), the ship continued to Boston MA for disembarkation.

21 March 2001Propulsion / Power Loss

On March 21, 2001, while navigating through Taiwan Strait, the ship was called to help the Cambodian general cargo vessel Pamela Dream. The cargo ship capsized in rough seas, with waves of 5 m / 16 ft.

The cruise ship's rescue boats were lunched, but they retrieve only 3 survivors. During the rescue operation, one of the ship's propellers was damaged by flotsam (wreckage / cargo afloat). The needed drydock repairs were done in Singapore.

The incident occurred during the ship's first "World Cruise" roundtrip from Southampton England.

01 May 2000Propulsion / Power Loss

On May 1, 2000, at the beginning of the 14-day Mediterranean cruise from Southampton, the liner experienced a major propulsion problem (propeller shaft bearing was damaged).

On May 3, the voyage was officially canceled. All passengers were fully refunded. Refunds and compensations cost P&O Cruises UK around GBP 6 million. The ship entered drydock for repairs (at Blohm+Voss", in Hamburg Germany) and returned to service on May 15.

27 April 2000Other Incidents

(christening ceremony) On April 27, 2000, the cruise ship Aurora was christened by HRH Princess Anne. However, during the vessel's naming ceremony, she failed to shatter the champagne bottle when it hit the hull. The bottle fell unopened into the water. This is considered a very bad omen.

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