As severe storms swept through southern Louisiana late on March 22, the cruise ship Seven Seas Mariner from Regent Seven Seas Cruises was nearly hit by a tornado that crossed the Mississippi River while the ship was moving down the waterway. The line of storms caused significant damage in the region, including multiple injuries and at least one death.
Tornado Threatens Cruise Ship
According to a CNBC news report, the tornado appeared to start in a suburb before moving east across the Mississippi River into the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans and parts of St. Bernard Parish, then turning northeast.
Approximately 13,000 homes and businesses were without power after the storm, and multiple injuries were reported. One fatality was also reported, but it is not yet clear how the death occurred.
Seven Seas Mariner was moving down the Mississippi River at the time of the storm, en route to its next port of call – Galveston, Texas – after having spent time in The Big Easy from March 21-22. The ship departed the Port of New Orleans at approximately 7 p.m. Just 30 minutes later, the tornado was spotted crossing the river.
Astonishing video posted by meteorologist Brantly Keiek of WGNO-TV, as well as videos and photos from other local residents and shared on social media, shows the huge tornado near the ship, while the ship is underway. Some video angles clearly show the tornado dangerously close to the ship, as lightning flashes illuminate the scene.
Earlier in the day, according to reports from passengers currently onboard Seven Seas Mariner, crew members did take steps to prepare the ship for the predicted severe weather, such as removing furniture from cabin balconies.
All cruise ship crew members are thoroughly trained in safety procedures for inclement weather, though it is unusual for a cruise ship to be threatened by tornadoes. Generally, ships will adjust sailing courses to avoid severe storms, though this is obviously not possible when sailing on a river.
There are no reports of injuries or damage from the cruise ship, though severe damage has been reported on land throughout the region. It will be several days before the full extent of the damage can be accurately assessed.
About Seven Seas Mariner
The Mistral-class cruise ship is currently sailing a 25-night “Warm Waters & Wild Wonders” itinerary round-trip from Miami. She set sail on March 16, and the itinerary includes a variety of popular ports throughout the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean, including stops in Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia, Aruba, the Dominican Republic, and more.
Seven Seas Mariner weighs in at 48,075 gross tons, and measures 709 feet long and 93 feet wide. While her maximum capacity is 700 passengers and 445 crew members, she is not yet sailing at full capacity and one passenger onboard has reported only about 250 guests aboard at this time.
Cruise Hive hopes all aboard Seven Seas Mariner have smooth sailing for the rest of her cruise, and our thoughts are with everyone impacted by this devastating weather.