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Giant Cruise Ship Demonstrates Exactly How Not to Dock a Giant Cruise Ship

Navigating a cruise ship over 1,000 feet long and 200 feet tall is no easy feat in the open water, but bringing one safely and slowly into port requires the sort of precise maneuvering only very practiced hands can deliver...

Navigating a cruise ship over 1,000 feet long and 200 feet tall is no easy feat in the open water, but bringing one safely and slowly into port requires the sort of precise maneuvering only very practiced hands can deliver. It's kind of like parallel parking a car, only the car weighs 150,000 tons and could take out an entire marina with the slightest misstep. To understand just what happens when a cruise ship botches it, you need only check out the footage of the Norwegian Epic attempting to do so in Puerto Rico earlier this week. 

Due to engine troubles, the Norwegian vessel -- packed with 4,1000 passengers -- was forced to make a pit stop in Puerto Rico in the midst of a seven-day tour of the Caribbean. However, the slow and steady attempt to bring the beastly boat toward the pier did not go smoothly, and the ship ended up crashing into not one but two huge sections of the dock, completely obliterating them in the process. 

In the video (shown above) captured by a passenger on another cruise, you can see the ship slowly (but loudly) mash up against the first mooring as someone in the vicinity lets out a loud scream. The ship's mass is no match for the mooring, which immediately sinks along with its long metal tether. Unfortunately, the liner was moving too fast to correct itself and proceeds to crash into a second mooring, which also plunges into the sea. At this point, you can see lots of the Epic's passengers out on the open decks watching what's going on down below. 

Fortunately, the ship manages to miss the third mooring, though the damage was done. Passengers shared photos of the epic gashes in the hull caused by the collision. They're not pretty.

The accident wasn't necessarily caused by human error, though. The whole snafu was weather-related, per a Norwegian official.

“Prevailing winds caused the ship to veer towards the pier, damaging two mooring points at Pier 3 East,” a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line told the Miami Herald. “No injuries have been reported and guests are currently disembarking the ship as previously scheduled. We are working closely with local authorities to assess the damage.”

The ship is scheduled to return to its origin -- Orlando's Port Canaveral -- on Saturday. 

h/tDigg


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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.