Costa Cruises have cancelled a port call in Salalah for Costa Victoria due to Cyclone Luban, according to a statement from the cruise line.
“Costa Crociere considers the safety of its guests and crew members as a key priority. We have therefore decided to amend Costa Victoria’s itinerary,” a spokesperson said. “She will proceed directly to Male in the Maldives, without visiting Salalah.”
“This decision will keep the ship out of any danger,” the line added. “Passengers on-board have been notified.”
Costa Victoria is on a 27-night re-positioning cruise from Savona, Italy to Port Louis, Mauritius.
At the time of writing she was in the Gulf of Aden and had increased speed to her full 23-knots in an attempt to outrun the leading edge of the storm and reach the Maldives.
According to the National Multi-Hazard Early Warning Centre in Muscat, the eye of the storm was 600-kilometres from Salalah on Thursday. It is expected to intensify to a Category 2 cyclone in the next 48 hours.
According to The Weather Channel, Luban is expected to skirt the coast of Oman and make landfall in Yemen. The predicted route the cyclone will take blocks off the entrance of the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, forcing all maritime traffic to sail through it.
The cruise ship Costa Victoria, if the Salalah port call was to be maintained, was faced with cruising directly through the storm or waiting it out in the Gulf of Aden.
Meteorologists have said winds will build to 74-knots on Friday evening, which is when Costa Victoria would have been in the storm’s path off Salalah.
She is now scheduled to make a port call in Male, the Maldives on Wednesday, October 17th. The decision to cancel the stop in Salalah means that passengers will have spent a full 10 days straight at sea by the time she reaches Male.
Wind speeds of 74-knots are described on the Beaufort Scale as ‘hurricane’ or Force 12. It describes sea conditions as being characterised by “exceptionally high waves… sea is covered with long white patches of foam; everywhere the edges of the wave crests are blown into foam”.
Wave heights will reach up to 8-metres or 26-feet, which is roughly the height of the ship’s boat deck from the waterline.
At 252m in length and with a passenger capacity of 1,900 people, the 75,166 gross ton Costa Victoria is unlikely to be in any danger from the storm, but it could present passengers with a rough ride on the night of October 12th.
Costa Victoria would not be the first Middle East-bound cruise ship to run from or sail through a tropical storm.
In 2014 Holland America Line’s ship Rotterdam had to cut her port call in Dubai short to avoid a cyclone forming in the Indian Ocean, and in 2015 Princess Cruises’ ship Sea Princess spent several days running from Cyclone Ashobaa in the Arabian Sea en-route to Dubai.
Categories: Middle East Cruise News