Cruise Ship Collision

April 8, 2012  

Passengers aboard the Silver Shadow luxury cruise liner after it recently collided with a container ship five miles off the Vietnamese coast who observed the collision and its aftermath felt that owner Silversea Cruises' reference to the collision as a "minor incident" of "contact between the Silver Shadow and a local commercial vessel" was an understatement.

In dense fog the Vietnamese container ship came out of nowhere and was suddenly broadside to the cruise ship's bow, where it was struck within a matter of seconds. The container ship rolled over but did not capsize, and actually righted itself as it was moved by the passing cruise liner.

Passenger Andrew Lock, interviewed by CNN, said that he and his wife saw that the container ship was damaged. After the initial impact, Lock reported that the forward momentum of the Silver Shadow "pushed the Vietnamese ship around, so that it actually came down the side, the length of our ship, scraping along the side as it went. And from that viewpoint, we could see just how much damage had been done to that [container] ship."

Lock said "We struck the other ship in several places that we could see--we struck it at the bridge, where they would operate from," Lock said. "We literally crushed the ship inwards. And we also struck the sides of the ship, causing a tear along the side, a vertical tear, quite substantial. And as we passed by the other ship, I personally saw several of their crew members just lying on the deck."

Lock disputed the cruise line's characterization of the incident: "It was a major collision."