A class action lawsuit has been filed against Viking over the March emergency onboard the Viking Sky, when the ship lost power in extremely rough seas, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of passengers by helicopter.
ABC News reports that Axel and Lauren Freudmann, a New Jersey couple who were among those onboard during the incident, filed a class action lawsuit against the cruise line in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Wednesday, alleging that the cruise line sailed through “notoriously perilous waters” despite severe weather warnings. The lawsuit says that forecasts head warned of severe weather as early as March 16, while the ship sailed from port in Norway on March 21, two days before it became stranded.
A spokesperson for Viking tells Travel Agent that the company’s chairman, Torstein Hagen, met the vessel after it docked and promised all guests a thorough investigation and full reimbursement. Each guest received a personalized letter from the chairman, which detailed the compensation they would receive: a full refund of cruise and air fare, including shore excursions, pre-/post-extensions and onboard accounts; a future cruise voucher equivalent to all monies paid to Viking for the cruise, good for five years on any Viking ocean or river cruise; reimbursement for any other expenses that may have been incurred; and an invitation to join Hagen for the inaugural cruise of the line’s newest ocean ship in early 2021, at the company’s expense. Passengers who did not wish to use the cruise voucher could take 50 percent of the total voucher amount in cash instead.
Since that letter was sent, the cruise line has refunded all cruise and air fare and is continuing to process the reimbursement of other expenses, the spokesperson said.
The Viking Sky lost power March 23 while en route from Tromso to Stavanger, an area notorious for rough conditions, when it encountered severe weather that included wind gusts of up to 43 mph and waves as high as 26 feet. The ship began drifting dangerously close to the rocky coast, prompting a helicopter evacuation in dark and windy conditions that eventually included 479 passengers out of the the ship's total capacity of 930. The evacuation was halted when the ship regained some propulsion, allowing tug boats to escort it to Molde with the remaining passengers onboard, arriving on Sunday. Photos and videos of the events went viral on social media, depicting furniture sliding across the floor and falling pieces of the ceiling. At least 17 passengers were injured.