UPDATE: (A video has surfaced 19 years later, see below) Norwegian Dream Cruise Ship Collision Ever Decent English Channel – On August 24, 1999, the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dream, loaded with mostly American and British passengers collided with the cargo ship Ever Decent in the English Channel at 1:15 a.m. (0015 GMT).
At least 10 other ships were in the area of the English Channel where the collision occurred. According to the report, as the ships approached one another near the F3 Buoy in the English Channel, the Norwegian Dream, built in 1992, had only one officer on watch, although the company’s procedures call for the watch to be doubled in instances of heavy traffic.
The 55,605 gross-ton Ever Decent, built in 1997, was heading Southeast bound for Zeebrugge across the channel. The 50,764 gross-ton Norwegian Dream, with 2,400 passengers aboard was heading Southwest bound for Dover. Fire consumed the Ever Decent after the collision.
The Norwegian Dream officer had been distracted by routine tasks, such as signing off on a garbage log and looking after the work of other crew members, while tracking ship traffic via two radar stations.
A third ship had caused a previous scare by remaining on a collision course with the Norwegian Dream up to 12 minutes prior to the cruise ship’s collision with the Ever Decent.
Approximately five minutes prior to the collision, the Ever Decent radioed the Norwegian Dream to advise her of the collision course and propose a course alteration to starboard.
Other than making the VHF call, the Ever Decent took no collision avoidance action. At the time, Ever Decent was overtaking another vessel, the MSC Rosa M.
Had the Norwegian Dream taken the evasive maneuvers suggested by the Ever Decent, the cruise ship would have had another near miss with the Rosa M, which was not visible from the Norwegian Dream’s bridge as it was being overtaken by the Ever Decent.
One passenger gave this account of the incident, “When I heard the bang, I really pictured another Titanic and started running to the deck,” said passenger Arielle Adelman, 16, from New York City. “It was really scary. There was a loud bang. I was walking down the hall and fell over. The ship started shaking and things started falling.”
Twenty-four people aboard the Norwegian Dream, some of them crew members, suffered minor injuries in the accident.
The Norwegian Dream limped into Britain’s Dover port on its own power. The ship’s bow and bridge were badly damaged, and it carried three containers that fell from the cargo ship onto its deck.
The Ever Decent’s Captain Shu, a Taiwanese, guided his ship, carrying a cargo of flammable chemicals, into shallow water and corrected a dangerous 40-degree list with water ballast. The ship lost several of its cargo containers into the sea.
Video: UK: INVESTIGATION INTO CRUISE SHIP/ CARGO VESSEL COLLISION (this video uploaded years later on July 21, 2015)