While docked in Brazil, MSC Cruises’ ship MSC Musica broke free of its moorings and began to drift briefly due to high winds during a sudden squall. No damage or injuries were reported during the incident, but this does demonstrate why cruise ships will often skip ports of call when winds are high and could cause dangerous conditions.
MSC Musica Breaks Loose During High Winds
On Friday, February 3, 2023, MSC Musica was docked in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when high winds caused the mooring lines to break and the ship was cast partially adrift for a brief period. The incident occurred at approximately 3 p.m., at which time the winds were gusting at nearly 25 miles per hour (40 kilometers per hour).
The rear lines securing the starboard ship of the ship to the pier broke loose, which allowed the vessel to begin drifting dangerously away from the pier.
Video footage of the incident showed dockside warehouses with significant roof damage, as well as the ship drifting a good distance away from the pier with the gangways dangling in the water. The forward lines remained intact, keeping the ship’s bow secure.
This could have resulted in significant damage to the ship and the dock facilities, but fortunately, no injuries or damage were reported. A tugboat quickly helped restore proper mooring lines, and the ship remained safely docked until its scheduled departure at 10 p.m. that evening.
MSC Musica was the only ship docked in Rio de Janeiro at the time, though in addition to MSC Cruises, the port is also visited by vessels from Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, Azamara Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, and other lines.
Rio de Janeiro was MSC Musica‘s first port of call on a 9-night round-trip sailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The sailing began on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, and also has port visits scheduled for Buzios, Ilha Grande, and Ilhabela in Brazil, as well as Montevideo, Uruguay. The ship will return to Buenos Aires on Thursday, February 9.
The 92,409-gross-ton ship will remain homeported in Argentina through March, at which time she will reposition to Europe and the Middle East for a variety of Mediterranean sailings through mid-November, when MSC Musica will return to South America for the 2023-2024 summer season in the southern hemisphere.
Wind Affects All Cruise Ships
Several cruise ships have cancelled ports of call in recent weeks due to expected high winds or other hazardous weather. Cruise lines always keep safety as their first priority to safeguard passengers and crew members, as well as the port communities they visit.
For example, Norwegian Getaway completely switched itineraries for the ship’s February 1 sailing from New York, which was to have visited Bermuda but instead went to Nassau. Several days earlier, Norwegian Gem also skipped a call to Bermuda because of anticipated weather difficulties.
Of course, many cruises are impacted every year by hurricanes in the summer Atlantic and Caribbean seasons, or by cyclones during the Austral summer down under near Australia and New Zealand.
Winter storms, waterspouts, flooding, and other types of inclement weather can also impact not only cruise ports of call, but also homeports, routes, time in port, and other parts of a cruise vacation.
Read Also: What to Do Onboard a Cruise Ship in Bad Weather
Cruise guests should always remain flexible during travel when poor weather may be a factor. While cruise lines do work to maintain their planned itineraries and keep everything as safe as possible, sometimes changes or rough sea conditions are simply unavoidable.
At those times, guests will be kept apprised of the situation and any necessary changes or adaptations, and onboard, crew members will keep the ship as safe and activities as normal as possible so everyone can continue to enjoy their cruise vacation in safety.