A tugboat crew potentially saved the Norwegian Prima, which carries 3,000 passengers, from grounding in the port of Reykjavik in Iceland, in May 2023.

A report by the Icelandic Transportation Accident Investigation has revealed how the ship was in trouble after a sudden spike in wind up to around 50 knots knots struck the port.

According to the report, the captain decided to proceed with the sailing, despite reservations that the conditions could be too harsh for the ship to deal with. This decisions was made as forecast wind speeds were only around 27 to 31 knots.

The Norwegian Prima was departing the port and exiting the harbour during the sudden spike in wind speed, in such powerful winds the ship couldn’t maintain its planned path, soon drifting outside of the navigable channel. During this dramatic turn of events, the ship was within 10 metres of rocks, which were at a depth of less than half a metre.

However, the tugboat Magni, heroically assisted in guiding the ship back onto its chartered path.

The investigation report stated: “There were no injuries or pollution. Norwegian Prima suffered no damage as a result of overrunning the buoy but the tug suffered minor damage due to prolonged pushing whilst it helped the vessel avoid grounding.”

The report suggested that the decision for the ship to sail despite the strong winds may have been due a lack of tank space, as the ship was sailing with increased levels of treated wastewater to increase stability of sailing.