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Tornado in Sardinia

Updated on January 30, 2013

I always wanted to go there...

We took a cruise in October 2008 on board the Navigator of the Seas and one of the main reasons we selected that cruise was that it was scheduled to call into Cagliari in Sardinia. We'd not been there before and thought it would be nice to see Sardinia.

The weather was not being kind to us that week and the night we sailed towards Sardinia was quite rough with rain. We got up that morning to be greeted with lots more rain, with thunder and lightening. As we had our breakfast we commented to fellow travellers that we would certainly not be rushing ashore and that we'd wait and see if the weather cleared up before venturing ashore.

My father was in his cabin preparing for breakfast when he looked out from his balcony (to get the lay of the land) and noticed how bad the weather was. As he watched from the 10th or 11th deck (quite high up) he noticed a tornado forming on the quayside. There were several coaches (awaiting tour passengers), several other vehicles and a row of small shops on the quayside. He watched in horror a the tornado grew in size and ferocity. It whipped up loose items and debris from the quayside and flung them around like matchsticks.

It travelled along the quay, ripped up the row of small shops, flipped over a coach and pushed an oil tanker several yards down the quayside, before hitting (and breaking) the mooring ropes at the aft of the ship and then hitting the ship itself thus causing the ship to swing out from the quayside and the ship's gangways to lose their connection with the quay (they were broken and unusable).

The blue area marks where the row of shops had been
The blue area marks where the row of shops had been
Coach on its side having been knocked over
Coach on its side having been knocked over

Shock and awe

All the crew and passengers were shocked by the events and Captain Bang commented that he had never seen such a thing happen before.

Needless to say, with the chaos on the quayside, the authorities did not want several thousand passengers alighting (there were injuries on the quayside) and so Captain Bang decided to leave port and head for our next destination early.

The tornado was so violent that it broke glass on several balconies (several stories up) and broke glass around the pools on the top decks. (The pools had to be completely emptied and checked).

We never did get to see any more of Sardinia than that battered quayside, but I do hope to return some day in brighter weather conditions.

The Navigator of the Seas in Valetta, Malta
The Navigator of the Seas in Valetta, Malta

Ship's CCTV caught it all on video


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