Around 100 cruise ship guests were injured over the weekend after their ship sailed into a severe storm off the coast of France.
The Spirit of Discovery’s propulsion safety system was activated due to rough weather, causing the ship to tilt to one side and resulting in the injuries. Five guests on the Saga ship were seriously injured and required medical attention upon returning to the UK.
The ship came to a standstill in the Bay of Biscay amid 30-foot waves and spent around 18 hours in the storm. The ship then sailed back to the UK and docked safely in Portsmouth.
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Saga Cruises said, “Spirit of Discovery was sadly caught in the challenging weather conditions this weekend, as she started her return to the UK. The ship remained safe at all times, but due to the impact of the storm some guests sustained injuries.”
“All were treated immediately by onboard medical staff. While the weather is clearly beyond our control, we want to offer our sincere apologies to all those affected,” the cruise line added.
Ship Unable to Outrun the Storm
The ship had cut short its Canary Islands itinerary by skipping a port call at Las Palmas. The intention was to shelter from the impending storm in La Coruna, Spain.
However, the captain was informed that the port was closed and decided to return to the UK. The Bay of Biscay is known for its unpredictable weather patterns and rough seas.
The ship’s AIS on MarineTraffic shows the ship almost came to a halt on Saturday.
Some passengers described their experience back on land, saying people were crying and “fearing for their lives.”
One passenger named Richard told BBC News that there were “many passengers in awful states of fear.”
Saga Cruises is a UK-based, adults-only cruise line that caters to a mature market of over 50s and seniors. The Spirit of Discovery was built at Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, and launched in May 2019.