One of two diesel-electric azipod units used to propel Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas sustained damage as the ship battled an intense hurricane-force storm off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on Sunday.
The storm-damaged cruise ship returned to the Liberty Cruise Terminal in Bayonne, New Jersey on Wednesday evening and as crews continue to test the critical systems onboard the vessel while in port.
Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Bahamas Maritime Administration, and other organizations have been working closely with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and technical specialists to ensure the ongoing repairs to the ship’s equipment are functioning as designed, the Coast Guard said Friday.
While damage from the storm has been reported as mostly cosmetic, the Coast Guard said Friday that the cruise ship’s port azipod unit, which is one component of the vessel’s propulsion system, burned out all four clutches and as a precaution had to be shut down for ship’s the return voyage to Bayonne.
Technicians aboard the cruise ship are replacing the clutches on both the starboard and port azipods as a precaution. Repairs and subsequent testing of the azipods are still ongoing.
All critical safety and lifesaving systems are also being tested under the supervision of the Bahamas and the U.S. Coast Guard officials to ensure that all equipment is functioning as designed prior to departing on its next voyage, which as of now is still expected for this Saturday.
Minor damage to the ship’s lifeboats is being addressed and thoroughly tested by the lifeboat manufacturer, the Coast Guard says.
“At this time all repairs appear to be on track and all systems tests are progressing satisfactorily,” according to the Coast Guard. “However, if anything is discovered during testing, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port will not allow the ship to sail from Bayonne until both Coast Guard and Bahamas Maritime Authorities are satisfied. The vessel will not be cleared to leave the port until all safety of life at sea requirements are met.”
As gCaptain has reported, the Coast Guard is supporting the Bahamas Maritime Administration in an ongoing investigation that will help determine if there are any contributing causal factors or lessons learned from the incident that could help prevent injuries or damage in the future.
The Royal Caribbean cruise ship Anthem of the Seas departed Bayonne, New Jersey last Saturday carrying 4,500 passengers and 1,600 crew on what was scheduled to be a 7-day roundtrip to the Bahamas. But by Sunday afternoon, the ship had sailed directly into the path of an rapidly-developing storm off Cape Hatteras, with 75 m.p.h winds and waves greater than 30 feet.
Coast Guard officials conducting the investigation are being assisted by personnel from the National Transportation Safety Board, according to the Coast Guard. The ongoing investigation could take some time but should not delay the vessel’s scheduled departure.
Royal Caribbean’s two Quantum-class ships, the Quantum of the Seas and the Anthem of the Seas, are fitted with two 20.5-megawatt ABB Azipod XO2300 propulsion units.