Cruise Ship Collides With Another Vessel After Getting Caught in Heavy Fog

River cruise passengers and crew were hurt when their ship was involved in a collision with another boat in thick fog early on Sunday morning, according to reports.

Photographs show rooms littered with broken glass and extensive damage to the front of the Viking Kvasir after the incident on Germany's Rhine River, near the western city of Wesel. The other boat involved has not yet been publicly identified.

Shaken guests shared images of the aftermath of the crash online and described how several people had sustained cuts and bruises, while a crew member cooking breakfast in the kitchen reportedly needed medical treatment after he burned himself as the vessel was suddenly shunted by the impact at around 6:50 a.m.

Most of the 190 passengers, who were enjoying a cruise vacation from Antwerp in Belgium to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, had been sleeping as the two boats crashed.

Viking Idun river cruise boat
Pictured: One of the company's other river cruise boats, the Viking Idun, sailing on the River Main through Eltmann, Germany, on August 31. A Rhine River cruise ship, the Viking Kvasir, was reportedly involved in a collision with another vessel in Germany on Sunday. Getty Images

A Florida-based maritime lawyer, who runs the Cruise Law News blog about the shipping industry with the tagline "everything cruise lines don't want you to know," uploaded a detailed account of the incident later on Sunday. Jim Walker, of legal firm Walker and O'Neill, said he received a description of what unfolded from a passenger on the ship who requested anonymity. Newsweek has reached out to Walker.

The guest told the blog: "The first officer was piloting the ship this morning in heavy fog and there was another barge/ship that was apparently sideways (you can see this from the photo taken from one of the balconies) on the Rhine that we hit... Most of the passengers were still in bed and we could feel the ship engines in full reverse for 3-5 seconds and then a massive crash and the sound of breaking glass in our room.

"There was very limited visibility and shortly after we collided, we saw the other ship perpendicular to our ship and then it disappeared into the fog. One crew member was taken to a doctor for burns (the chefs were preparing breakfast service). Others had minor cuts (mainly from picking up LOTS of broken glassware) including in the state rooms. A couple of passengers had minor injuries because they were standing when the ships collided."

Later that morning, the ship's crew hosted a meeting with all the passengers, and the guest described how an official "said it was the other ship's fault, and the Viking ship has video proof of it." The ship's first officer was "overcome with emotion and was applauded by all of the passengers for doing everything she could to minimize and avert the collision," the passenger added.

Police and port authorities were investigating, still according to the passenger, while the captain and technicians assessed the damage to the front of the boat, which, pictures show, was covered by a tarp to hide the unsightly crushed front and scraped-off paintwork. No water was taken on.

The CruiseMapper website, which tracks ships and reports on maritime accidents, reported the collision "resulted in minor hull damages (at the bow/forward, above the waterline), interior damages (broken windows, tablewares, glassware) and minor injuries sustained by two passengers and several crew members. The riverboat was cruising in limited visibility/heavy fog."

A Viking Cruises spokesperson told Newsweek: "We can confirm that the Viking Kvasir collided with a cargo ship in heavy fog near Wesel, Germany, the morning of September 11, 2022. There were no significant injuries among guests or crew. The ship was cleared by authorities the evening of September 11 and has now continued its voyage without further delay."

Cruise crashes are rare, but they can be deadly. In December 2021, a man who had been a passenger on the Costa Concordia cruise ship that crashed back in 2012, killing 32 people, was awarded compensation for his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); Ernesto Carusotti was awarded the equivalent of $105,000. The captain, Francesco Schettino, is still serving a 16-year prison sentence for manslaughter, after he brought the ship too close to Giglio Island off the coast of Tuscany, causing it to crash into a reef and tip over.

Update, 9/13/22, 3:03 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with a comment from Viking Cruises.