Cruise passengers rescued in Swedish waters

Thousands of cruise line passengers and crew were left stranded in Swedish waters for over six hours as crews worked to repair their stricken ship.

According to Swedish sea rescue officials, the luxury vessel, operated by Italian/Swiss firm MSC Cruises, was stranded for most of the day on Sunday due to a ship-wide electrical failure.

Rescue officer Birger Knutsson told the AFP that the incident occurred near the coast of Gotland Island. He added, “It appears that there was a complete electrical failure. In that situation, the engines do not work.”

The company, based in Geneva, acknowledged the ordeal in a statement late on Sunday and said that the boat would have to be towed through the night to Stockholm’s port of Nynashamn. Around 1,800 passengers – primarily Europeans – were then either repatriated or given the opportunity to book another cruise.

The vessel departed Southampton, UK, on 7th May; the trip had scheduled stops in Copenhagen, Stockholm, St Petersburg and Helsinki and was supposed to arrive back in Southampton on 17th May.

Knutsson said the MSC Opera lost power at around 11.00 local time on Sunday and drifted freely until 17.30, ending up about six miles from Gotland’s main city of Visby before tow crews arrived.