Norwegian Pearl Cruise Ship Causes Major Europe Blackout – On Saturday, November 4, 2006, Norwegian Cruise Line ship Norwegian Pearl, was departing a shipyard to North Sea, causing a Western Europe blackout as crews moving the vessel, went beneath low clearance power wires and the electric company shut off the power (see video below)
Just after 10:00 pm on Saturday and lasted for up to 90 minutes in some areas, halting trains and affecting households from northern Germany to Morocco. On, the Germany utility company, which is one of the biggest in Europe, said that the problem arose when it switched off a power line over the river Ems, in the north of the country, to allow a large ship to pass underneath safely.
A 380,000-volt line was turned off to let the Norwegian Pearl, a newly built cruise ship, pass on its way from the Meyer shipyard in Papenburg to the North Sea.
The power cut swept through large parts of western Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands and Croatia. About 100 trains in Germany were brought to a standstill, causing nationwide delays to the rail network.
In France, five million people were affected in the country’s biggest blackout in 30 years, according to a spokesman for the CGT trade union. Regions in the north of the country were affected, as were districts of Paris and Lyon.
Firefighters in Paris responded to nearly 40 calls from people stuck in lifts. More than 100,000 people were affected in Italy, mainly in and around Turin.
Pierre Bornard, management board member of RTE, the French power supplier, said that the sudden loss of power in Germany had thrown the power grid in Europe out of balance and caused computer systems to switch off power for some customers to prevent a complete blackout. He described it as a “house of cards” phenomenon.
Video: System Disturbance in EUROPE (2006)