On 22 March, at round 2.30 am, the Frisian sailing ship Noorderlicht, owned by Swan Expeditions, ran aground in a Norwegian fjord. The ship received assistance from the Norwegian Coast Guard in relocating its passengers.

The Noordelicht, also known under the name Reade Swan, carried 14 to 17-year-old students as part of the Swan Expeditions‘ Masterskip educational programme.

When the ship grounded, it was right next to the shore, so all passengers and crew could simply walk ashore with a rubber boat in between. From there, they were taken to a hotel by a boat of the Norwegian Coast Guard.

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As time passed, the Noorderlicht tilted more and more because of the descending water, and the heater no longer worked properly. After inspection, there appeared to be no damage to the ship itself.

The captain and first mate remained on board and prepared the ship for refloating and to continue the journey.

So far, there is no directly identifiable cause for the grounding. This will be investigated in the coming period.

Picture (top): Noorderlicht grounded in Norway (by Swan Expeditions).

Specifications of the sailing ship Noorderlicht

The hull Noorderlicht was refitted in 1993 after which the vessel was converted into a two-masted schooner. The ship has an ice-strengthened bow and can therefore sail in the polar regions.

  • Type: 2 mast schooner
  • Built/rebuilt: 1910, 1993
  • Length: 46.20 m
  • Width: 6.50 m
  • Mast height: 43 m
  • Hullspeed: 12 knots
  • Draught: 3.2 m
  • Tonnage: 250 tonnes
  • Sailing plan: 7 sails
  • Sail size: 550 m2
  • Engine: 460 HP Caterpillar C12 Diesel
  • Crew: 5-7 persons
  • Capacity: 20 trainees
  • Flag: the Netherlands
Sailing ship Noorderlicht under sail (by Swan Expeditions).
Noorderlicht under sail (by Swan Expeditions).

Also read: USCG: Lack of situational awareness and poor BRM caused Ever Forward grounding