Heavy weather encountered by passenger cruise ship Pacific Sun with 77 people injured

Location: 200 miles off north north east of North Cape, New Zealand.

Accident Investigation Report 14/2009

Read our marine accident investigation report, which includes what happened, actions taken and subsequent recommendations:

PacificSunReport.pdf (1,227.74 kb)

Annexes (1,501.77 kb)


During the evening of 30 July 2008 the cruise ship Pacific Sun rolled heavily in gale force winds and high seas while returning to Auckland on the final leg of an 8-day cruise of the South Pacific. Of the 1730 passengers and 671 crew on board, 77 were injured, with seven sustaining major injuries.

Safety Issues

  • many of the injuries sustained by the passengers and crew were caused by falls and contact with unsecured furnishings and loose objects in the busy public rooms, including those designated as passenger emergency muster stations
  • following the accident, the moving furniture and debris made many of the public rooms unusable, and the master instructed the passengers to return to their cabins for their own safety
  • had Pacific Sun’s furnishings and fittings been sufficiently secured so as to resist moving when she heeled, the number of injuries would have been greatly reduced


Our report has recommended that the Cruise Lines International Association and the Passenger Shipping Association develop a guide on industry best practice based on Princess Cruises’ standard for securing furnishings. The trade associations have also been recommended to promulgate the lessons learned from this accident to their members.

This report was published on 24 June 2009.

Published 23 January 2015