ms Westerdam accidents and incidents

ms Westerdam cruise ship


Length (LOA)
285 m / 935 ft

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CruiseMapper's ms Westerdam cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 2362-passenger vessel owned by Holland America. Our ms Westerdam 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could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • fires - 2003, 2014, 2017 (drydock)
  • collision with ice in Alaska - 2011
  • propulsion/power loss - 2022 (Alaska)
  • pollution in Alaska - 2008 (4), 2018
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 2007 (146 / 9), 2020 (2 / 25)
  • Coronavirus - 2020 (1 passenger, all Asian cruises canceled)
  • deaths - 2015 (seaplane crash in Alaska), overboard (2018)
  • medevacs - 2013, 2022

03 October 2022Coast Guard Medevacs

On October 3, 2022, a 73-year-old female passenger was medevaced from the ship navigating in low visibility toward Port Angeles (WA USA). The elderly woman was suffering a mild cardiac infarction/necrosis (tissue death).

The medical evacuation request was received by Coast Guard District 13 (Seattle WA) when the liner was approx 46 mi / 74 km west of Juan de Fuca Strait (Salish Sea). For the operation, from USCG Air Station Port Angeles was dispatched a Eurocopter MH-65 Dolphin (rescue helicopter) whose crew landed on MS Westerdam at 8:50 am (15:50 UTC). The woman was airlifted off the ship and flown to an EMS team at ~10 am (~5 pm UTC).

The incident occurred at the beginning of a 52-day Transpacific voyage from the USA to Australia (Seattle to Sydney NSW/itinerary October 2 - November 23) while the ship was en route from Seattle to Hawaii (Honolulu/Oahu).

13 July 2022Propulsion / Power Loss

On July 13, 2022, while navigating in Eastern Alaska (Hubbard Glacier) and en route to Sitka, the ship reported to the USCG a propulsion system malfunction (Azipod/thruster failure) resulting in reduced speed.

As result, the planned visit to Ketchikan was canceled. Due to the delayed arrival in Sitka, most of the shore excursions were canceled.

The accident occurred during the 7-day "Alaskan Explorer Cruise" (itinerary July 10-17, roundtrip from Seattle WA USA) with call ports Juneau (Jul 12), Hubbard Glacier cruising (Jul 13/2-6 pm), Sitka (Jul 14/planned port stay 8 am-4 pm), Ketchikan (Jul 15/canceled, planned port stay 7 am - 12 noon) and Victoria BC Canada (Jul 16/port stay 8 pm-12 midnight).

March 2020Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In March 2020, CDC reported that on the voyage March 1-16, a virus infected 2 passengers (out of 18, or 11,11%) and 25 crew (out of 680, or 3,68%), with the predominant symptom being diarrhea.

Due to the global COVID pandemic, the remainder of Westerdam's Asian schedule was canceled and the liner (carrying only 18 passengers) returned to the USA.

February 2020Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

Due to Coronavirus concerns, the ship was denied entry to The Philippines (Feb 3rd), Taiwan (Feb 4th), Japan (Feb 6th), Guam USA (Feb 8th), Thailand (Feb 11th). On Feb 10th, HAL announced that Thailand allows docking in Laem Chabang (Bangkok) for Feb 13th. However, on Feb 11th the permission was cancelled and the liner continued to Cambodia after receiving an official permit for docking and passenger disembarkation in Sihanoukville.

On Feb 14th, the ship arrived in Port Sihanoukville and remained docked there in the period February 14-29, until the next itinerary was modelled. On Feb 16th, Malaysian health officials reported a Coronvirus case (83-year-old female passenger from MS Westerdam). The infected with COVID-19 elderly woman (US citizen) was among the hundreds debarked on Feb 14th in Sihanoukville and flown to Kuala Lumpur Airport (Malaysia). While going through Kuala Lumpur Airport's thermal scanners, she and her husband had flu-like symptoms. The man tested negative for Coronavirus.

During the Sihanoukville port stay (Feb 14-20), all people onboard (total 1528, including 781 passengers and 747 staff-crew) tested Coronavirus-negative. The testing was conducted in Phnom Penh (at Institut Pasteur du Cambodge) and acknowledged by Cambodia's Ministry of Health, WHO (World Health Organization) and CDC USA's office in Cambodia.

On Feb 20, all passengers were cleared to disembark the vessel. A total of 25 crew ended their contracts with HAL and also left the ship. Due to Coronavirus concerns, Turkey refused entry to a chartered by HAL flight (Turkish Airlines aircraft with 268 passengers) and the plane was re-routed to Karachi (Pakistan) instead of the original destination Istanbul (Turkey).

On Feb 15, Malaysia reported that a former elderly American cruiser (83-year-old woman) who disembarked the ship on Feb 14 and flew into Malaysia had tested SARS-CoV-2-positive. The woman's second test returned positive again. On Feb 20 was reported that for 3 days the woman underwent intensive treatment with new medications and her condition improved. She was tested again and found Coronavirus-negative.

The next table shows the 14-day Asia (Taiwan and Japan) cruise itinerary (as call ports and times, Hong Kong to Shanghai) during which HAL-Holland America Line's Westerdam ship was denied port entry several times. The liner was carrying a total of 1455 passengers plus 802 staff-crew.

Date / TimePort
01 Feb 18:00Departing from Hong Kong, China
03 Feb 08:00 - 18:00Manila, Philippines
05 Feb 07:00 - 16:00Kaohsiung, Taiwan
06 Feb 08:00 - 07 Feb 17:00Keelung-Taipei, Taiwan
08 Feb 08:00 - 17:00Ishigaki Island, Japan
09 Feb 08:00 - 18:00Naha, Japan
11 Feb 08:00 - 18:00Nagasaki, Japan
12 Feb 08:00 - 17:00Busan, South Korea
13 Feb 08:00 - 17:00Sasebo, Japan
15 Feb 08:00Arriving in Shanghai, China

The next scheduled cruise (14-day South Korea and Japan) was canceled. The roundtrip Yokohama itinerary (Feb 15-29) had planned visits to Kobe (Feb 18), Kochi (19), Sakaiminato (22), Busan (23), Cheju (24), Fukuoka (25), Nagasaki (26) and Shimizu (28). On February 21, Holland America canceled all the ship’s Asian voyages (February 29 through May 10).

  • (February 29) 14-day "Taiwan And Japan" roundtrip from Yokohama
  • (March 14) 14-day "South Korea And Japan" roundtrip from Yokohama
  • (March 28) 14-day "Japan Explorer" roundtrip from Yokohama
  • (April 11) 14-day "Japan And Russia" roundtrip from Yokohama
  • (April 25) 15-day "North Pacific Crossing" (repositioning Asia-Alaska) from Yokohama to Vancouver Canada

All canceled bookings received a full refund (of the cruise fare paid), reimbursement of all travel cancellation fees plus 25-50% future HAL cruise credit of the fare paid (depending on itinerary/departure date). Westerdam was scheduled to restart service on May 10th, with a 7-day "Alaskan Inside Passage Cruise" roundtrip from Vancouver BC.

11 September 2018Sea Pollution

On September 11, 2018, while navigating in Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park, the cruise liner reported to the local authorities that accidentally leaked wastewater due to a crew error. According to the Alaskan violation notice (incident report), the wastewater discharge was a crew mistake. It continued for ~25 min, during which time were discharged ~22,560 US gallons (~85,200 litres) of untreated greywater into the sea. Greywater on cruise ships is the sewage water collected from the galley/kitchen, staterooms, laundry rooms. Cruise vessels are prohibited to discharge at sea anything while in marine parks' waters.

(update) on September 11, 2019, Holland America Line was fined USD 17,653 by the Alaska State. The court settlement was signed on August 1 (2019). The company denied all allegations and legal claims for intentional dumping of sewage in the Alaskan waters.

13 July 2018Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On July 13, 2018, a 69-year-old male passenger was reported missing overboard, while the liner was navigating in Glacier Bay (Alaska). The conducted search and rescue operation (Park Service and USCG boats and planes) was suspended on July 14. The body was not found.

The passenger was reported missing at ~3:50 pm as he didn't appear for a scheduled medical appointment at the ship's infirmary. Glacier Bay Park Service was notified at ~7:30 pm, after onboard search confirmed that the man was missing.

The incident occurred during the 7-day Alaskan cruise (itinerary July 8-15) from Vancouver BC to Seward AK, visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Glacier Bay.

23 April 2017Fire Accident

On April 23, 2017, during the ship’s scheduled drydock refurbishment, at Fincantieri’s Palermo shipyard was reported an onboard fire without injuries. It started on a cabin balcony located starboard on Deck 7 (Rotterdam) and was quickly extinguished. The needed repairs didn’t affect the ship’s drydock schedule.

25 June 2015Crew / Passenger Deaths

(Alaskan tour plane crash) On June 25, 2015, the pilot and 8 cruise passengers died in a seaplane crash accident on a sponsored by Holland America shore excursion in southeast Alaska. The floatplane crashed into a cliff near Ella Lake, approx 20 ml / 30 km northeast of Ketchikan AK.

The seaplane (aka pontoon plane) was chartered through the tour company Promech Air. All passengers killed in the Alaskan flightseeing excursion were of US origin – residents of the states California, Maryland, Nevada and Oregon. The seaplane was flying in an unregulated territory and in poor weather (limited visibility).

Passengers booked on Alaskan fly excursions (seaplanes or helicopters) can't cancel the tours without penalty. These aircraft are frequently flying in risky conditions, notwithstanding bad weather. There is a 100% penalty (cancellation fee) for fly tour cancellations 3 days prior to cruise departure, This policy is often criticized as irresponsible. It comes to the choice between losing the tour fee or risking your life.

Note: In May 2019, 6 people died (including 5 Royal Princess cruise passengers) when two seaplanes crashed in George Inlet (George Arm) at Revillagigedo Island's southern shore.

28 June 2014Fire Accident

On June 28, 2014, the vessel experienced an engine room fire, ~4 hours after departure from homeport Seattle WA. The small fire was quickly extinguished by the crew and without injuries.

The incident occurred in one of the boiler rooms. The ship remained fully operational but had to return back to port for inspection. The next day, the vessel was cleared by USCG and left port at ~10 am. The caused delay resulted in an itinerary change (call port Sitka AK was dropped).

As compensation, passengers received US$250 per cabin in onboard credit, plus 25% future Holland America cruise booking discount per person (for a comparably priced itinerary).

06 October 2013Coast Guard Medevacs

On October 6, 2013, a 75-year-old male passenger suffered a heart attack. The man was medevaced via a USCG helicopter dispatched from San Diego CA. During the emergency medical evacuation, the ship was approx 15 ml / 25 km off Mission Bay CA.

11 May 2011Ship Collision / Allision

On May 11, 2011, en-route to Sitka AK, the ship collided with an ice block. The incident happened while navigating through Yakutat Bay, Alaska, The vessel sustained a below waterline hull damage (15 ft / 4,6 m long cut), but the hull was not breached. No injuries were reported. In Sitka, the ship was boarded and inspected by USCG.

2008Sea Pollution

Four times in 2008 (May, June, July and September) the vessel was reported for violation of Alaska’s state regulations about discharged wastewater quality. When tested, the ship’s wastewater showed higher-than-permitted concentration levels of zinc and ammonia.

February 2007Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In February 2007, CDC reported on the voyage Feb 4 to 11, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected 146 passengers (out of 1790, or 8,2%) and 9 crew (out of 809, or 1,1%). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea) and were quarantined to their cabins. The ship was on 7-day Caribbean cruise roundtrip from homeport Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) Florida.

17 October 2003Fire Accident

On October 17, 2003, during construction at Marghera shipyard, a fire broke out in the vessel's aft section. The fire started at ~7:30 am and was extinguished by ~11 am. The incident didn’t affect the ship’s delivery scheduled for April 15, 2004.

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