MV Funchal - Collision with the Quay

The penultimate cruise ship call to Bergen in 2014 was a visit by Portsucale Cruises' MV Funchal last Saturday. She arrived on a wet and windy day, and had a very close scrape with the quayside as her crew struggled to control her during departure (scroll down for photos).

Cruise Ship Funchal in Bergen, Norway
Funchal alongside at Bontelabo, Bergen
Built in 1961, Funchal is the last of the classic Portuguese liners. In 1984 she joined the Classic International Cruises fleet and operated as a cruise ship for the British market until 2011.

Cruise Ship Funchal in Bergen, Norway
Funchal's classic lines set her apart from more modern cruise ships
Following two uncertain years, Funchal was purchased in 2013 for the newly formed Portsucale cruises. After a substantial refit she re-entered the cruise market and has already gained a loyal following.

Cruise Ship Funchal in Bergen, Norway
Funchal alongside at Bergen on a rainy afternoon
Throughout her 53 year career and multiple owners, Funchal has never had a name change, making her the oldest cruise ship still in operation under her original name.

Cruise Ship Funchal in Bergen, Norway
Funchal's crew prepare to stow the gangway ready for departure
Her visit to Bergen was part of her current cruise, being operated under charter to the British based Voyages of Discovery.

Cruise Ship Funchal in Bergen, Norway
Despite a number of refurbishments throughout her career, Funchal has retained her classic profile
Cruise Ship Funchal in Bergen, Norway
Funchal's bow creeps back towards the quayside as strong winds catch the ship's side
As she pulled away from her mooring at Bontelabo, Funchal struggled against the strong winds, and began to swing back towards the concrete quay.

Cruise Ship Funchal in Bergen, Norway. Crash, minor collision with quay
Making contact: Funchal's bow brushes against the railings at Bontelabo
As she swung even closer I had to leave my spot standing by the railings. Her sweeping bow was hanging overhead by the time I took a few steps back. The officers and deck hands on her bow were watching the scene unfold whilst shouting into their radios as they communicated the situation to the bridge.

Cruise Ship Funchal in Bergen, Norway. Crash, minor collision with quay
Funchal pulls backwards as her bow lightly scrapes the quayside
Funchal was swinging towards the quay at a steady speed. Her bow touched the gates on the quayside and there was a loud groan of metal on rubber as she brushed the quay, but with her engines in reverse her crew were able to narrowly avoid what could have been a far worse collision.

Cruise Ship Funchal in Bergen, Norway. Crash, minor collision with quay
A lucky escape: Funchal finally clears the quay with only very minor superficial damage
There was no significant damage to the ship, although light scrapes could be seen at the forward end of her bow, from contact with the quay.

Cruise Ship Funchal in Bergen, Norway
Funchal's sleek bow is an impressive sight
After the situation calmed down (the above 5 photos were taken around 30 seconds apart) I was able to watch Funchal as she slid stern-first into Byfjorden, before turning and making her way to Avonmouth in the UK to complete her cruise.

Cruise Ship Funchal in Bergen, Norway
Funchal pulls out into Byfjorden on her departure from Bergen
Unfortunately her onward voyage was not without incident, and due to a large storm in the Irish Sea, Funchal was forced to cancel her planned arrival into Avonmouth, and instead docked at Liverpool, where passengers for the next cruise were transferred by bus.

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