A cruise ship in the Italian port of Ravenna broke away from its moorings on Saturday morning, posing a threat of a possible grounding.

At around 03:30 on Saturday, Viking Sea moored at the Port of Ravenna’s outer port. Later that morning, the port was hit by an abnormally strong bora wind, according to the Ravenna Port Authority. The northern Adriatic has a strong katabatic wind pattern called the bora.

The strong winds caused the lines of the cruise ship to break and she began drifting away from her anchors. The crew immediately pulled anchor to limit the drift. A harbor tug owned by the towing firm Gesmar intervened to stop the ship’s movement. Four tugs from other companies joined in and slowly pushed the cruise ship back to her place of anchorage.

AIS data shows Viking Sea’s motion was quickly stopped within 60m of traveling distance from her dock. When she stopped at the pier, her AIS records show that she was only 30 meters of the next dock, the south. With help from tugs, she was returned to her location by midday and moored on additional lines.

According to Ravenna Port Authority, the passengers were on board during the process and did not experience any disruption.

“A heartfelt thanks to the harbormaster, pilots, tugs and longshoremen for the prompt response given, allowing us to face a totally exceptional situation with safety and speed. Thanks also to the terminal operator and to the whole port community who understood the difficulties caused by these exceptional weather conditions,” said the port authority in a statement. 

Viking Sea is a 900-passenger cruise vessel designed by the Italian company Fincantieri in partnership with Viking in 2016. The length is approximately 750 feet and a height above the waterline of around 120 feet (to the top deck).

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