Cruise nightmare for Chorley councillor after ship ran aground

DAMAGE: The Nordnorge ship. Below, Coun Alan Whittaker

DAMAGE: The Nordnorge ship. Below, Coun Alan Whittaker

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A dream cruise turned into a nightmare for its passengers after their ship ran aground.

Chorley councillor Alan Whittaker was one of more than 200 holidaymakers on the Norway cruise, and is now leading calls for compensation following the incident.

Councillor Alan Whittaker

Councillor Alan Whittaker

Mr Whittaker, who represents Chisnall ward, said: “We were going north of the Arctic Circle. On the way back we called at a small port, which was no bigger than Glasson Dock. It was 5pm or 6pm and had gone dark.

“As we pulled away, we suddenly ground to a shuddering halt. Everybody was shocked and a bit concerned about it. We didn’t know what had happened.”

The ship, the Nordnorge, suffered a large gash in its hull and returned to dock. No one was injured.

Passengers and part of the crew were transferred to another ship, Trollfjord.

Mr Whittaker, of Heskin, had paid £2,100 for the cruise and has so far rejected an offer of £276 compensation.

“We lost a day’s sailing and the chance to visit Bergen,” he added.

He said passengers spent hours waiting in freezing 
conditions in a warehouse.

He said within two hours, he had received the names of 90 passengers who wanted compensation.

A spokesman for Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten said: “Due to a technical failure on-board the MS Nordnorge on November 3, its voyage was regrettably shortened by 24 hours.

“We would like to apologise to our guests for this and understand their disappointment at the changes to the itinerary.

“We can confirm that a number of guests have contacted us regarding the incident and we are currently working to resolve the situation to their satisfaction.

“Following the incident, an internal inquiry was undertaken and several recommendations are being implemented to ensure it does not happen again.

“During the investigation, it became clear that the captain and his crew managed this unfortunate incident with professionalism, focusing on the safety, communication and wellbeing of all guests and crew.”