Passengers are telling how a mutiny was almost staged by the 1,700 holidaymakers, some 400 of which were British, aboard the MSC Opera on Sunday night.
Passengers had been faced with food shortages, no running water or working toilets and blackouts for 3 days after the ship had an electrical failure in the middle of the Baltic Sea.
The MSC Opera, operated by MSC Cruises, departed Southampton on Saturday, May 7th for a 10-day cruise that was due to call at Amsterdam, Stockholm and St Petersburg. However, the electrical failure occured on Saturday 14th May when the ship was in the Baltic Sea off of Sweden. They tried to restart the engines, but failed.
Passengers said they were left in the dark about what was going on. They were left without food and water, and were only getting bread rolls to eat. Eventually some of the passengers directed their anger toward the captain on Sunday night and started demanding to see him. The captain never appeared but the staff opened the bars to hand out free drinks.
On Sunday, tugboats were sent to tow the the MSC Opera to shore. It made landfall on Monday. The passengers were put on buses and taken to Stockholm, where they departed on flights to Bournemouth Airport.
MSC said “Cold meals were served and on Sunday evening when the galley’s power was restored, bakers began making 2,000 rolls and had more than 650 pounds of bread brought in from ashore on Monday morning”.
Officials also said all the ship’s bars remained open, providing free drinks, and that the MSC Opera’s entertainment team provided continuous entertainment throughout the incident.
An MSC Cruises spokesman said that all the passengers will be given a credit voucher for another 10-day journey.
MSC Cruises has also confirmed that all its sailings on the MSC Opera from now until May 27 will be cancelled while repairs are made. On 27th May the ship is due to depart Southampton for an 8-night round trip to Northern Europe and Norway.
MSC also said that they are compensating passengers affected by the cancellations.
Some of the passengers comments:
“People were very fed up and scared as well as we were drifting. We were in total darkness, the toilets filled up and wouldn’t flush for 10 hours”
“The staff have been brilliant, I have got no complaints whatsoever”
“Onboard conditions were shocking”
The MSC power failure is reminiscent of the failure suffered on the Carnival Splendour off the coast of Mexico some six months earlier. The chief engineer was famously quoted as he told the captain of the Splendours power status ..
“There was silence for a moment and then a voice that sounded like he was about to tell someone that a family member had been killed said, ‘captain, the main switchboard is finished.’ He paused, and then (with) his voice, cracking with emotion, he said words I will never forget: ‘I cannot give you anything. Nothing. No engines; no power. Everything is finished, finished, finished.'”