When the river ship Viking Idun struck a chemical tanker near Antwerp, Belgium early this month, the news was greeted with a sharp intake of breath.
But coming as it did a few weeks after an evacuation off the Norwegian coast, it sparked a few questions about cruise ship safety.
Thankfully, no-one was injured and while both vessels sustained above-water damage, it was not serious.
Some 30 million people are expected to take cruise holidays by the end of this year aboard over 300 ships.
River ships are booming. Cruising inland waterways is expanding from Europe to South America, India, Asia and the Middle East.
Yet the number of serious cruise ships incidents, according to a study quoted by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), is just under 20 per year. Making cruising the safest form of holiday travel.
Says the CLIA international website: ” Even with an increase in cruise capacity, cruise lines have maintained an exceptional safety record – making cruising one of the safest ways to travel. In fact, cruise travel is safer than virtually every other form of travel.
“A study by GP Wild analyzing cruise ship operational incidents shows that while worldwide cruise ship capacity grew by more than 41.5 percent from 2009 to 2016, over that same six-year period the number of operational incidents has trended down with an average of 19.4 incidents per year, prioritizing cruise lines’ safety record ahead of other modes of leisure transportation.”
The 135 m long Viking Idun was underway from Antwerp to Ghent with 171 passengers and a crew of 44 when it collided with Chemical Marketer, en-route to Antwerp and loaded with petroleum.
All passengers remained on board. There were no leaks on either vessel, and no cargo from Chemical Marketer was spilled.
Viking operates the world’s largest fleet of river cruise vessels, totalling 68 ships. Last month the company christened seven more of its signature Longships, which will be deployed on the Rhine, Main, Danube and Douro rivers.
So how safe is your cruise? The statistics show the answer is: very safe indeed.