On Monday evening, an explosion occurred on a river cruise ship docked in the center of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Two hundred people were evacuated from the ship, and a number of them inhaled too much smoke. The explosion happened in the vessel’s battery room, after which a fire broke out.
Fire and Explosion Onboard Viking Gymir
After guests had just embarked on the Viking Gymir in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, they had to quickly leave the ship again after an explosion occurred in the ship’s battery room.
The explosion occurred around 18:30. All 200 guests had already been assembled in the ship’s main lounge for a welcome briefing, making evacuation relatively easy.
Viking Cruises stated to Cruise Hive, “We can confirm that there was a minor incident on board Viking Gymir in Amsterdam on July 25. All guests and crew are safe and the ship is fully operable and navigable. At this time, we expect that all future departures will proceed as scheduled.”
Viking Gymir, docked in the city center of Amsterdam when the explosion occurred, quickly sounded the alarms. The local fire brigade, ambulances, and other first responders quickly arrived on the scene as the explosion was followed by fire in the main engine room.
Although all guests managed to leave the vessel without issue, some crew members did suffer from smoke inhalation and underwent monitoring by medical personnel.
After being on the dock for about an hour, guests were brought onboard the river ship River Diamond, moored next to Viking Gymir. Guests were later brought to Viking Rolf for dinner. After dinner, Viking arranged transport for guests to the Schiphol Airport Hilton hotel, where Viking would brief them.
What will be happening next is unclear. Local authorities have been busy investigating the vessel to ensure there are no toxic fumes onboard before the crew is allowed to reboard the ship. It seems unlikely Viking Gymir will be returning to service this summer season.
Viking Gymir is one of the newest river ships for the world’s largest river cruise operator, Viking Cruises. The vessel was one of the eight new river ships christened by Viking in January this year.
Viking Gymir has a hybrid propulsion system consisting of three diesel engines and a large-capacity battery pack. According to early reports, it is the large capacity battery pack where the explosion and fire occurred, which would explain the careful nature in which the Dutch fire brigade is dealing with the vessel.
Tough Summer For River Cruises
Although Viking Cruises is still ordering river and ocean-going ships at a record pace, the company operates more than 80 ships worldwide; 2022 is so far not the best year for river cruising. The fire onboard Viking Gymir is already the third incident with one of the company’s ships this year.
Just two weeks ago, the Viking Hermod collided with a cargo vessel during a cruise between Basel and Amsterdam; the cruise ship sustained minor damage during the accident, which was caused due to the cargo vessel suddenly changing course.
In May this year, Viking Aegir hit a bridge pillar on the Danube River in Slovakia, injuring eleven people.
Besides accidents, Viking river ships have to deal with even more significant problems as river levels in Europe are dropping to record-low levels. A heatwave has reduced parts of the river Rhine, western Europe’s most important waterway, to the lowest seasonal levels in at least 15 years.
While river ships will still be able to operate, it will likely include guests having to change ships when the water levels become impassable. In this case, the cruise line would transport guests from one vessel to a different ship that is further up or down the river where water levels are still deep enough to operate.
It’s not just river ships experiencing problems with low-water levels in Europe’s rivers. Earlier this week, Holland America Line informed guests that due to low water in the North Sea Canal between Ijmuiden and Amsterdam, the cruise line had moved embarkation for a Norway cruise onboard MS Rotterdam to its namesake city.