A cruise ship made a harrowing turn and listed while sailing into Victoria last week.
“I grabbed life jackets and a bed sheet to tie us together if we went over,” said Randy Gibbs, from Puyallup, Washington.
Gibbs and 20 of his family members, including a 91-year-old grandmother, were among the more than 2,000 passengers and crew on the 12-deck Carnival Legend cruise ship Aug. 29. The cruise line said in a statement that a turning valve in one of the ship’s four engines failed and caused the vessel to make a hard port side turn. This caused the ship to list 30 degrees. [Update: The cruise line says the ship listed a maximum of eight degrees, not 30 degrees as some initial reports said.]
The ship was returning from a seven-day Alaskan cruise, on their way back to Seattle.
“That’s 10 degrees from capsizing the ship,” Gibbs said. “It’s crazy.”
Gibbs was in one of his family’s cabins around 6:30 p.m. when he felt the floor move. He grabbed his phone and started recording. Several dramatic passenger videos of the three- to five-minute incident are circulating on social media.
Here is a video by Randy Gibbs.
“I looked down at the decks and water was pouring over from the pools,” he said. “I told everyone to look out.”
Gibbs’ sister and mother were in the dining area, where dishes crashed to the floor. He said passengers on the rising side of the ship said it was so high in the air they couldn’t see land.
“Everybody thought we were trying to avoid a head-on collision. Why else would we turn like that?” he said. “It’s amazing no one was injured.”
Gibbs is not sure how close the ship was to Victoria at the time, but it was scheduled to arrive at the port of call at 7:30 p.m. He did not see any Canadian vessels approach the ship to assist. The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria was not called.
Gibbs said passengers seemed in shock after the incident and many did not disembark in Victoria that night.
“It freaked us out,” said Gibbs, who cancelled his plans to visit Victoria and stayed on the ship. He said Carnival excursions planned for the stop were cancelled as well.
Gibbs said he doesn’t like to fly, but is thinking twice about doing another cruise.
“I started looking into other issues with cruise ships. For now, I’m glad to be on land,” he said.
This was not the ship’s first listing incident. In 2005, Carnival Legend suddenly listed while making a starboard turn en route to New York. The ship listed 14 degrees, causing minor injuries and broken glass. Crew told passengers it was due to a computer glitch.
In 2001, a similar-sized cruise ship, Norwegian Sky, listed after a computer malfunction while reportedly on autopilot in Juan de Fuca Strait. At least 16 people were injured, including one with a broken leg. Paramedics, firefighters and coast guard responded to that incident.
Here is a video by Jerry Janes.