Cruise ship breaks moorings in gale force winds

  • Norweigian Star breaks it’s moorings. Photo by Maureen Sullivan

    Norweigian Star breaks it’s moorings. Photo by Maureen Sullivan

  • Severe weather 14.9.12 - Woodlands Road (Photo by Mark Tatem)

    Severe weather 14.9.12 - Woodlands Road (Photo by Mark Tatem)

A cruise ship yesterday broke her moorings as gale force winds suddenly hit the island.

The Norwegian Star broke loose at Dockyard after the ship’s aft mooring lines snapped.

The ship made some contact with the Explorer of the Seas, which is also in port at Dockyard, causing dents to both vessels. No injuries were reported.

Following the incident, the Norwegian Star was held in place off Heritage Wharf with two anchors, and the assistance of two tug boats.

Transport Minister Walter Roban said the vessel’s bow swung out into the Great Sound shortly after 2pm. The Government boat Inspector was dispatched in minutes and retrieved the broken lines from the water. Branch Pilot Anthony Robinson came aboard to assist, and the Norwegian Star was secure by 2.45pm.

One witness said: “From what I saw it just broke loose and touched the other boat. Thankfully, it seems they were able to get it under control.”

Harbour Radio said that at the time the ship broke free, the service had recorded gusts reaching 45 knots.

Divers found the vessel’s hull unscathed, and Mr Roban said an inspection of Heritage Wharf also showed no damage. According to Meyer Shipping, both ships will leave port on schedule.

Meanwhile, the sudden winds forced Government to cancel the 3.45pm ferry service from St George’s.

A spokesman said that the Department of Marine and Ports was liaising with the Department of Public Transportation to allow additional busses to serve the East End.

The deluge caused flooding across Hamilton, from Front Street to Parsons Road, affecting scores of businesses.

Six inches of rain also built up at the LF Wade International Airport, according to Fire Department Divisional Officer Dana Lovell.

By 4pm the Department’s Hamilton Control Room had taken more than 20 calls. Eight trucks were out tackling floods, and Lieutenant Lovell said all available units had been sent into duty.

Some cars on a low lying area of Dundonald Street were trapped up to their windows in water. Customers at nearby Cafe 10, who watched the waters rise, joked that the system did more damage than Tropical Storm Leslie did when it struck last week.

On Front Street, Island Embroidery owner Chuck Millican found his business inundated, along with his merchandise, after water from Reid Street built up waist-deep and flooded under the back entrance.

“It was extraordinary,” he said. “Water was flowing right through the store. I’ll have the weekend to get things back up and running.

“In the midst of it, the Fire Service did a great job — and a traffic warden came and ticketed Town and Country while they were cleaning out the water, for being in front of our shop.”

A City of Hamilton spokeswoman said that once the heavy rain abated, pumps set to work clearing the streets.

Michelle Pitcher of the Bermuda Weather Service said: ”The frontal boundary that is slowly making its way from the south to north of Bermuda developed a weak surface low centre along it to our near south early in the afternoon.

“The low unexpectedly intensified or deepened as it was passing by our south.

“A very active thunderstorm cell passed directly over the Island from approximately 2-3pm. That passage, coupled with the unexpected intensification of the low, produced the gale force winds.”

The service issued a Gale Warning just before 2.30pm as they began to record sustained winds of 38 knots. Gusts at Commissioner’s Point were recorded reaching 46 knots.

However, the Weather Service noted that the downpour didn’t technically constitute a storm, which is defined as a low pressure system with sustained winds of 48 knots.

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Published Sep 15, 2012 at 12:01 am (Updated Sep 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm)

Cruise ship breaks moorings in gale force winds

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