Official: Norway cruise ship engines failed from lack of oil

Official: Norway cruise ship engines failed from lack of oil
Some of the remaining passengers look out as the cruise ship Viking Sky arrives at port off Molde, Norway, Sunday March 24, 2019, after having problems and issuing a Mayday call on Saturday in heavy seas off Norway's western coast. Rescue helicopters took more than 475 passengers from a cruise ship that got stranded off Norway's western coast in bad weather before the vessel departed for a nearby port under escort and with nearly 900 people still on board, the ship's owner said Sunday. (Svein Ove Ekornesvag/NTB scanpix via AP)

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A maritime official says the engines of a cruise ship failed off Norway’s coast during a storm because they didn’t have enough lubricating oil.

Lars Alvestad, the head of Norway’s Maritime Authority, said Wednesday that low oil levels were the “direct cause” of the engine failure that stranded the Viking Sky on Saturday.

Alvestad says safety systems detected the problem and automatically stopped the engines to prevent a breakdown.

Viking Sky’s crew sent a mayday call and anchored in heavy seas to keep the ship from being dashed on rocks in an area known for shipwrecks. Five helicopters lifted 479 passengers off with winches.

The rescue operation ended Sunday when the engines restarted. The ship traveled under its own power to a Norwegian port with nearly 900 passengers and crew members onboard.